In recent years, we have seen a disturbing, though not surprising, trend in Massachusetts. As the population grows, car traffic grows, pedestrian traffic grows, and bicycle traffic grows. This increased traffic poses a question that Boston lawmakers are currently addressing- how do we keep all of these people safe? One way of keeping people safe is to decrease the speed limit within the city. That was already done once, in 2017, with the city lowered the speed limit from 30 to 25. Now, the city is talking about lowering the speed limit again.
The desire for a lower speed limit and safer streets is understandable when we look at the toll that traffic accidents take. In 2013, the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control estimated that crash-related deaths resulted in $438 million being lost to medical and work related costs. It is no surprise, then, that the city of Boston plans to continue its efforts to create safer roadways for pedestrians and drivers by further reducing the speed limit. One difficulty with this proposal lies in the fact that it requires state approval for implementation. This hurdle has led some to consider the idea of “safety zones,” which are certain areas with reduced speeds that would not require state approval.
While several factors contribute to pedestrian accidents- speeding, distracted driving, driving under the influence, poor weather conditions, nighttime driving- eliminating even one of those factors can lead to improved safety and fewer casualties and injuries.