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Council Declares Road Crash Injuries a Public Health Crisis

In the United States, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death, killing over 100 people every day. In fact, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among US children and adolescents.

U.S. traffic deaths soared by 12% higher in the first nine months of 2021 from the same period a year earlier, representing the highest percentage increase over a nine-month period since the Transportation Department began recording fatal crash data in 1975.

The state of Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s traffic-related fatality data shows that 408 people died on Massachusetts roads in 2021. These 408 deaths are a 19% spike from the 2020 tally of 343 fatalities, and represent more crash fatalities than any year since 2009.

The City of Boston’s EMS data show that in 2021 there were 3,911 crashes and 15 fatalities in Boston involving drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Boston EMS has responded to 1,248 car crashes this year, 157 of which involved pedestrians.

The Council adopted a resolution calling for the announcement of a public health crisis related to traffic safety and injuries and implementation of sound prevention policies.

The resolution states that “the City of Boston and Boston City Council have a responsibility to prioritize safety for all road users, especially the most vulnerable.”

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