The Top Ten Most Dangerous Massachusetts Cities & Towns To Drive In

This past Sunday’s tragic pedestrian death of a 4 year-old girl at the intersection of Congress and Sleeper streets in the Seaport area of Boston, has drawn attention to the question of which cities & towns in Massachusetts have the highest rates of fatal auto accidents.  She was killed when struck by a pickup truck.  The intersection is very near to the Boston Children’s Museum.  A horrific incident.  The lives of her parents and family will never be the same.

This is made all the more tragic by the story behind the story.  You see, not all traffic intersections are created equal, nor are all cities and towns equally safe or equally dangerous.  Some municipalities stand out as especially dangerous, and a recent study from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has made this clear.

This study examined 218 traffic locations in Massachusetts that have seen at least 500 motor vehicle crashes between the years of 2019 and 2023.  The objective was to identify which locations involved the highest percentage of fatalities from motor vehicle accidents.  Statistically, these are the most unsafe areas to drive in Massachusetts.  Not a pleasant topic – especially for the family and friends of those killed or injured in these locations. So, here is what can be called the “Massachusetts Traffic Fatalities Hall of Shame.”  I call it the Hall of Shame because many of these cities and towns were aware of these dangerous roads in their communities, but apparently did not take effective action to correct them.  This despite the fact that proactive measures can be taken to reduce these tragedies, as there were 11 towns that were part of the MassDOT study that didn’t record a single fatal roadway accident between 2019 and 2023.  Obviously, those cities and towns are doing something right.

The town of Berkley, located just north of the major city of Taunton in Bristol County, earned the No. 1 spot of the most dangerous town to drive in, with 1.59% of people involved in traffic accidents there dying from their resulting injuries.  From 2019 to 2023, 1,007 people have been involved in 562 accidents in Berkley, 16 of whom died from their injuries.  This was the highest fatality rate in Massachusetts.

The town of Sharon earned No. 2 on the list, with 1.13% of people killed from motor vehicle crashes. The town recorded 1,649 crashes in the four years of the study, which involved 3,466 people; 39 died from their injuries.

Townsend, in the north-central part of the state, ranked No. 3, with 1% of people killed in motor vehicle accidents crashes in four years.  There were 13 deaths from 1,306 people involved in the 651 crashes.

Two towns shared Fourth place in a tie between West Boylston, in Worcester County, and Freetown, in Bristol County.  Both towns recorded 0.95% of accident victims killed. While the same percentage of people were killed in each town over the study period, Freetown had logged double the number of vehicular crashes at 1,080 compared to what West Boylston saw.

Dedham, a popular Norfolk County town, landed in fifth place on the list, with 0.87% of people killed in car accidents in this town.  This fact is anything but comforting to me, as it’s next door to my office, in Westwood.  There have been 1,983 crashes over the last five years in Dedham, and this number is the highest number of motor vehicle crashes on this list. A staggering 4,610 people were involved in those events, and 40 of them died, violently.

The town of Salisbury, on the North Shore in Essex County, earned sixth place on the list:  2,869 people were involved in motor vehicle accidents in this town during the study period, with 22 people being killed.

Westport, a coastal community near the Rhode Island border, came in at seventh in terms of fatal auto accidents, with 0.76% of 3,022 people involved being killed. During the last four years, there have been six fatal crashes here.

Moving to No. eight on the list is Belchertown, not far from the UMass-Amherst campus, with 0.73% of people killed in motor vehicle accidents there.  24.67% of drivers there were injured in various categories of crashes.

Ninth place on the list is the town of Sutton, part of Worcester County, with 0.72% of people in this town being killed in car crashes. The town recorded a total of 413 people injured in combined categories of traffic accidents.

Last on the list (but still nothing to brag about) was the north shore town of Newburyport, on the North Shore in Essex County, with 0.71% of people there being killed over the study period.  In this period, Newburyport recorded 1,156 crashes involving 2,526 people.  From that figure, 18 people were killed.

Imagine the lives that could have been saved, if these cities and towns had taken pre-emptive measures to address the obviously very dangerous intersections and roadways in these locations.  Imagine, indeed, as the City of Boston apparently knew about the dangerousness of this intersection of Congress and Sleeper streets:  The Boston Herald has reported that the city was reportedly planning “major” safety upgrades at this intersection.  As a Boston Fatal Car Crash lawyer, my first reaction is, sadly:  Tell that to the family of this now dead young child.