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Fatal car crashes up in 2021 on Cape Cod

The Sagamore Bridge
Liz Lerner
The Sagamore Bridge

2021 was one of the worst recent years in terms of fatal car crashes for the Cape.

The region averages 13 or 14 traffic related deaths, but there were 19 this past year.

Also, pedestrian fatalities were up as well. Generally, 2 or 3 pedestrians are killed in a year, but 7 died in 2021.

Cape Cod Commission deputy director Steve Tupper says they are constantly looking at engineering solutions to certain high crash areas, but also behavioral issues as well.

“Distracted driving, impaired driving, those are things that have always problematic," Tupper tells CAI. "But certainly something we continue to focus on and work with law enforcement agencies, and drivers education."

The Commission is developing improvements at concerning roads like the Route 28 and Route 6 corridors, and they are working with the state and local agencies to possibly install a median on the Scenic Highway in Bourne.

Tupper says that he's also concerned with the high number of pedestrian fatalities this year, which is an outlier compared to other years. Still, he says that any fatality is too many, and the Commission continues to look at ways to improve safety for bicyclists and walkers.

"So we’re not looking to put sidewalks everywhere," Tupper says. "We’re not looking to put bike lanes everywhere. We’re looking to be strategic where there’s a demand, and where its appropriate to install that sort of infrastructure to improve connections and to improve safety.”

Still, he says that Massachusetts is ranked the safest state in the country when it comes to fatal car crashes, and Barnstable is the safest county in the state.

In Massachsuetts, 390 people died in traffic related incidents. That's the most in the state since 2009. according to the state highway safety division.

Sam Houghton left CAI in February, 2023, to become News Editor at the Martha's Vineyard Times.
He worked at CAI since the summer of 2017. Before that, he worked at the Falmouth Enterprise, where he covered local politics.