Five people are dead following a wrong-way crash that occurred on Interstate 495. Four college students, two attending Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts, and two attending Anna Maria College in Paxton, were in a 2003 Mercury Sable headed northbound when they were struck by a wrong-way driver. A 31-year-old woman of Fall River, Massachusetts was driving a 2011 Infiniti G37 south in the northbound lanes of the divided highway. She also died in the collision.
According to Newsday, state police say the accident caused the northbound car “to become engulfed in fire,” They said they were investigating why the woman was driving the wrong way. “Why she ended up driving on the wrong side of the highway, and any contributing factors to her erratic operation, remain subjects of the ongoing State Police investigation.” the police said in a statement.
Becker College released a statement on the tragic accident, stating “We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two of our students. . . . We also grieve for the other lives that were lost. Our sincere condolences and prayers go out to their families, friends, and local communities. To support our campus community, the college is providing counseling services.”
Sadly, recent statistics show that traffic fatalities are increasing. Traffic deaths are up 10.4 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, according to a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In the first half of 2015, 16,100 died in traffic accidents. That number jumped up to 17,775 in 2016. Americans drove more this year, but it is not enough to account for the increase.
NHTSA stated, “It is too soon to attribute contributing factors or potential implications of any changes in deaths on our roadways,” For seven consecutive quarters since the final months of 2014, the rate of traffic deaths has been higher compared to previous years.
The NHTSA has announced its “Road to Zero” coalition which seeks to eliminate traffic deaths, including deaths on sidewalks and bicycle paths, by 2046.