Mass. Leads Nation in 2008 Highway Fatality Reduction

Fri February 27, 2009 - Northeast Edition

Fatalities on Massachusetts highways dropped dramatically in 2008 by 28.5 percent, the largest percentage decline in the country. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported the decline as part of preliminary data from a January survey of 44 states and the District of Columbia. The number of highway fatalities in Massachusetts fell from 434 in 2007 to 310 in 2008.

GHSA survey representatives say 40 states saw declines in highway fatalities and attribute some of the reduction to the decline in miles traveled in 2008 due to high gas prices and a difficult economy. However, experts say the dramatic decline in states such as Massachusetts indicates other positive trends are at work.

“This study confirms what we already know — that highway safety is a top priority in Massachusetts, due to a strong partnership among state, regional and local agencies who are dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roadways,” said MassHighway Commissioner Luisa Paiewonsky. “We take our safety responsibilities quite seriously and will continue doing everything we can to improve road safety.”

Paiewonsky said MassHighway gives safety projects priority in funding infrastructure and implements numerous other ongoing road safety initiatives, including:

• Safe Routes to School Program

• Roadside safety audits across the state

• Bicycle and pedestrian safety programs

• “Seatbelts Save Lives” Campaign

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