BOSTON (WWLP) – An increase in road fatalities has led MassDOT to take various steps to improve roadway safety and strive toward achieving zero deaths on the roads.

According to MassDOT, road deaths in Massachusetts and across the country increased in 2021, despite traffic volumes remaining below pre-pandemic levels. More than 400 people died on Massachusetts roads in 2021, the highest number in more than 11 years and 22% more than in 2020. In comparison to the same period in 2021, preliminary figures for 2022 suggest an increase in traffic deaths.

Officials advise individuals to pay attention and contemplate safety as the summer travel season begins and more people are bicycling and walking owing to the nicer weather.

Crash-related deaths and injuries can be avoided if drivers and members of the public take precautions such as using crosswalks, signaling when turning, wearing a helmet, wearing a seatbelt, traveling without your phone, driving sober, and limiting distractions in automobiles.

The following are the steps MassDOT intends to take to improve road safety:

Safe System Approach

The Safe System Approach is being implemented by MassDOT in order to achieve zero fatalities on our roads. Safe roads, safe road users, safe automobiles, post-crash treatment, and safe speeds are all part of a safe system.

Investing in bike-friendly roads

For the first time, a non-profit organization that provides a yearly report card put Massachusetts first. Massachusetts received a “A” in the Infrastructure & Funding, Education & Encouragement, and Policies & Programs categories of the League of American Bicyclists’ 2022 report card.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is increasing its investments and initiatives dedicated to the construction of sidewalks, cycling facilities, and safe crossings, among other things.

MassDOT has boosted funding for municipal grant programs in order to assist towns in developing infrastructure that will keep people safe when walking, bicycling, or riding public transportation.

Speed Management Policy

MassDOT has a comprehensive Speed Management Policy and “Safe Speeds” website, both of which were launched this year as assistance to towns around the Commonwealth. Municipalities can use these sites to get information on speed management and apply for grant funding to implement speed control measures.

Establishing target speeds

Establishing target speeds is something the state has been working on. Conversations are taking place to establish what the safe speed should be for various highways, including input from municipal and town authorities as well as MassDOT partners.