Massachusetts highway administrators will hold a press conference Monday to discuss road safety after state data showed a two-fold increase in the rate of roadway deaths for the month of April.
While officials recorded a significant decline in the number of cars on the road — counting only 50 percent of usual traffic along major highways — 28 deaths were reported in April. That’s an increase from April 2019, when 27 people died, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation said in a statement Sunday.
Officials did not provide details about what factors may have led to the increased rate of highway deaths.
Department of Transportation spokeswoman Jacquelyn Goddard said about two-thirds of the deaths were reported along municipal, rather than state roads.
Highway administrator Jonathan Gulliver will led the press conference, scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday over Zoom.
The increased death rate demonstrates the importance of observing the speed limit, wearing a seat belt, driving sober, and using electronic devices in hands-free mode only, the department’s statement said.
It was unclear what, if any, role the restrictions on movement due to the coronavirus played in the traffic patterns.
Two people died in separate crashes on April 5. Shamara Castillo, 25, was ejected after her car flipped in Lawrence, and Stefon Thomas, 32, crashed into a tree in Randolph, possibly after swerving to avoid a mattress in the road. Two days later, a 56-year-old man from Norwood died after crashing along Interstate 95 in Sharon.
More recently, two teenagers were killed on April 23 after a pickup truck crashed in Wellesley.
Abigail Feldman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.