Study Ranks Massachusetts Drivers As Among The Safest In The Nation But State Still Ranks High For Drunk Driving Fatalities

This may come as a surprise but a recent insurance company survey has ranked Massachusetts drivers as among the best and safest drivers in the nation. However, the survey also ranks Massachusetts as one of the worst when it comes to drunk driving fatalities.

An annual survey by Car Insurance ranks the worst drivers by state. The survey is based upon data from organizations like the National Highway Traffic Administration (“NHTSA”) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (“MADD”). It compiles and ranks categories including fatality rates per miles traveled, failure to obey safety regulations, drunk driving, tickets issued, and careless driving.

According to the report, Massachusetts ranked number #42 out of 51 states — including the District of Columbia. 41 states have worse drivers than Massachusetts. Of the separate categories, Massachusetts drivers ranked very well in almost all categories. Massachusetts ranked #1 for the number of miles travelled without a fatality. For every 100 million miles travelled, Massachusetts only had 0.62 fatalities. Massachusetts also ranked very well, coming in at #9, when it comes to careless driving. Only 8 other states have more careful drivers. The state also ranked well for obeying safety regulations and receiving fewer traffic tickets, #18 and #21 respectively.
Compiled Score: #42 Worst Drivers

  1. Fatalities per 100 Million Vehicle Miles Traveled
    • RANK: #1 Safest
  2. Failure to Obey Safety Regulations
    • RANK: #18 Best
  3. Drunk Driving Fatalities
    • RANK: #44 Best
  4. Percentage of Traffic Tickets Issued
    • RANK: #21 Best
  5. Careless Driving
    • RANK: #9 Best

Drunk Driving

However, when it comes to the number of drunk driving fatalities, the ranking slips. At #44, 43 states have lower rates of drunk driving fatalities. Out of the 349 traffic accident fatalities in Massachusetts, 123 fatalities were due to drunk driving — 35%. The ranking comes from MADD, which has calculated that Massachusetts’ taxpayers subsidize $861 million annually in expenses related to drunk driving fatalities. Accidents caused by drunk driving can be very expensive. They can incur medical bills, vehicle repairs or replacement, lost wages and productivity, and physical therapy. And, the highest price can be the cost of a human life. If not paid, the taxpayer may bear these costs.

Massachusetts has strict drunk driving laws and penalties in order to curb drunk driving fatalities. Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 § 24, a person will be found guilty of a crime for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or while having a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or greater. A first offense can carry a penalty of up to 30 months in jail, a $500 to $5,000 fine, and a 1 year license suspension.

Despite the criminal penalties, drunk driving accidents remain high. Beyond the criminal laws, accident victims can bring a civil lawsuit against a drunk driver to compensate them for their injuries. Under Massachusetts law, every driver has a duty to drive safely and responsibly. By driving under the influence of alcohol, a driver has breached that duty and can be found negligent. If the driver’s negligence causes injury, an accident victim may be compensated for lost wages, medical expenses, physical therapy, pain and suffering, lost wages or earnings capacity, and other expenses. If a family loses a loved one they may be able to sue for wrongful death and may claim medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of consortium, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other expenses.

While generally, the report is a good indication of driving in Massachusetts, accidents still happen, including drunk driving accidents. If you have been injured in a car accident, it is recommended that you speak with an experienced local attorney that will work to get you the compensation you deserve.

Local attorney, John C. Manoog III, has extensive experience handling motor vehicle accident claims. For a free initial consultation, call the office at 888-262-6664 or reach us by email. There is always someone available to talk to you about your case.

Additional Resources:
Worst Drivers By State 2013 , 2014, Car Insurance Comparison

2012 Drunk Driving by State: Massachusetts, 2014, Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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