Driving in any location always involves the risk of potentially being involved in an accident. Arguably, the risk may be greater than average in a busy state like Massachusetts. The more vehicles there are on the road, the more opportunities there are for accidents to occur.

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There are many ways to reduce your chances of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. One is to familiarize yourself with the most common causes of fatal collisions. This overview will cover noteworthy examples, helping you better understand how you could mitigate your accident risk.

(The information here is based on 2021 data from the National High Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Be aware that said data can change from year-to-year due to a range of factors.)

In Massachusetts, common causes of fatal motor vehicle accidents include:

Intoxicated Driving and Drowsy Driving

Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is extremely dangerous. Far too many motorists and pedestrians lose their lives every year because people make the irresponsible choice to get behind the wheel when they are in no condition to be driving.

However, motorists who understand that driving while drunk or on drugs is dangerous may nevertheless overlook the fact that driving while sleep-deprived can be almost as risky as driving while intoxicated. If a motorist hasn’t had enough sleep, their reaction times may be slowed, they may be more prone to judgment errors, and, of course, they may be more likely to fall asleep on the road.

Don’t assume you’re still alert enough to drive if you haven’t gotten enough rest. According to research, most drivers who cause accidents due to falling asleep at the wheel believe they aren’t too tired to drive when they decide to. If you haven’t had sufficient sleep, try to get some rest before driving, or make other travel arrangements.

Distracted Driving

According to the NHTSA, accidents resulting from distracted driving have become increasingly common in recent years. This is almost certainly due to the ubiquity of smartphones.

It’s best to turn your phone off when driving. If you can’t justify doing so, consider downloading an app that prevents your phone from sending you alerts or notifications while you’re operating your vehicle. If you ever feel the urge to check your phone while driving, find a safe place to pull over or park before doing so.

According to research, most drivers who cause accidents due to falling asleep at the wheel believe they aren’t too tired to drive when they decide to.

Not Wearing a Seatbelt

It’s essential to keep in mind that the factors that may contribute to an accident occurring are not necessarily the only factors contributing to whether an accident results in someone losing their life.

For example, per the NHTSA’s data, failure to wear a seatbelt is one of the most common causes of fatalities in motor vehicle collisions.

It’s also worth noting that choosing to wear a seatbelt can theoretically influence how much money a victim might be eligible to receive if they were to file a claim or lawsuit after sustaining injuries in an accident. If an insurance company discovers that a claimant wasn’t wearing their seatbelt when their accident occurred, the insurance company could argue that said claimant’s injuries would not have been as severe had they taken the proper precautions.


Statistics indicate that speeding consistently remains the top cause of fatal motor vehicle accidents. This is the case not only in Massachusetts, but throughout the U.S.

Observing the posted speed limit isn’t the only way you can minimize your chances of being harmed in a speeding accident. Other tips to keep in mind include:

  • Account for road conditions and weather, and adjust your speed accordingly
  • Practice remaining calm behind the wheel so that you don’t feel you’re in competition to “race” others with whom you may be sharing the road
  • Always leave yourself sufficient time to reach your destination
  • Whenever possible, avoid driving during rush hour

Unfortunately, even if you make responsible choices on the road, you can’t control the choices others make. You may therefore one day be involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting from the negligence of another party. Tragically, it’s even possible to lose a loved one in a fatal collision due to someone else’s actions or carelessness.

You will hopefully never experience either of these scenarios. If you do, though, it’s important to understand that you may have grounds to seek financial compensation.

At Swartz & Swartz, P.C., a Boston car accident attorney can review your case and explain your legal options in greater detail. If we find you have a strong case, we’re also prepared to offer the aggressive representation you deserve. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at (617) 742-1900 to request a free consultation.

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If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.

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About the Author: James Swartz
Mr. Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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