Massachusetts drivers have an undeniable reputation for … well … the way they act behind the wheel. Dangerous intersections and other bad road conditions often get the blame. Yet, most often driver distraction and inattention actually cause accidents.
At the same time, undeniably, some of the Commonwealth’s highways and intersections defy logic and good planning. Early Boston residents grazed cattle on the Boston Common. So, many of today’s city streets started out as cow paths, evolving to the paved patchwork of streets now winding through the city.
Massachusetts transportation officials identify dangerous intersections statewide.
Ten Most Dangerous Intersections in Massachusetts
- Lowell: Bridge St. & VFW Highway
- Holyoke: Holyoke St. and Holyoke Mall at Ingleside
- Lowell: Varnum Avenue & VFW Highway
- Cambridge: Massachusetts Avenue & Vassar Street
- Worcester: Main & Mill Streets
- Holyoke: Main & Cabot Streets
- Waltham: Main & Lyman Streets
- Stoughton: Canton & School Streets
- Chelsea: Revere Beach Parkway & Washington Avenue
- Somerville: Mystic Avenue & Fellsway
My first reaction is how none of Boston’s streets or intersections made the list. The closest is in Somerville, which no one who has ever driven through 2009’s All American City can dispute. As one who has spent a fair amount of time in Springfield it is shocking the roads in Massachusetts’ third largest city fail to make this list.
Factors used in selecting intersections for the list include the total number of accidents, fatalities, injuries or property damage only accidents. A group called GoLocal made the list based on data from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, or MassDOT.
Accidents: Dangerous Intersections or Driver Negligence?
Those injured in accidents can’t blame dangerous roads when a driver’s negligence caused the harm. For example, the estate of a man killed crossing a state highway at night sued the state claiming officials should have installed highway lighting. The court held the state can’t be held liable for not putting up lights; where negligence by a driver killed the pedestrian, laws protecting the state prohibit dragging the state into the case based on roadway conditions.
The pedestrian’s family also failed in a case against the local municipality. Going all the way up to Massachusetts appeals courts, it was held the town could also not be held liable for the man’s death for its failure to erect highway lighting. Motor vehicle operator negligence caused the highway fatality, not dangerous highway conditions.
For the 10 worst intersections in New Hampshire: click here.
The two cases above are: Estate of Walenty v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 12 Mass. L. Reptr 402 (2000) and Walenty v. Town of Mendon 55 Mass App. Ct 914 (2002).