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MassDOT Posts Vulnerable Road User Safety Assessment Online
04:28PM / Saturday, November 18, 2023
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BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is highlighting several initiatives as the annual World Day of Remembrance approaches, a day set aside every year on the third Sunday of November, to remember individuals killed and injured in crashes, acknowledge the important work of First Responders, and advocate for actions to improve road safety. 
"World Day of Remembrance is a time to pause and remember the victims of roadway crashes and to recommit ourselves to keeping each other safe," said Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt. 
On Wednesday, November 15, MassDOT published online a Vulnerable Road User (VRU) Safety Assessment, a federally mandated report that every state is required to submit to the Federal Highway Administration.  The Safety Assessment provides the data to better understand the VRU crashes and describes projects and program types that will help to reduce VRU-related fatal and serious injury crashes.  A VRU is a nonmotorist and refers individuals such as pedestrians, bicyclists, anyone working along a road, individuals on skateboards, scooters, roller skates, wheelchairs, and other micromobility devices.
The Safety Assessment is guided by the following six initiatives established in the Strategic Highway Safety Plan published in 2023:
  • Implement speed management to realize safer speeds,
  • Address top-risk locations and populations,
  • Take an active role to affect change in vehicle design, features, and use,
  • Accelerate research and adoption of technology,
  • Double down on what works, and,
  • Implement new approaches to public education and awareness.
Legislation which took effect in April 2023 focusing on vulnerable users is expected to contribute to safer roads, safer users, safer speeds, and improvements in data collection to enhance analyses.  "An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities" includes some of the following:
  • Safe passing: drivers must provide a safe passing distance of at least 4 feet when passing VRU such as pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Rear red-light requirement: bicyclists are required to use a front white light and rear red light and rear reflector when riding at night.
  • Safer speed limits: the process for municipalities to alter speed limits in thickly settled areas from 30 mph to 25 mph has been clarified.
  • Truck safety devices: state-owned and contracted heavy trucks will be required to be equipped with convex mirrors, cross-over mirrors, and sideguards.
  • Crash reporting: data will be collected regarding Vulnerable User Crashes, adding 19 new fields to crash data already collected.  The MassDOT IMPACT system has been modified to accommodate the new fields of data.  In addition, the Registry of Motor Vehicles has modified the crash report forms to capture the new information and soon law enforcement agencies will start submitting the data. For more information on crashes in the state, please visit the IMPACT dashboard:
  • The IMPACT website data as of 11/15/2023 had a total of 105,796 crashes in Massachusetts in 2023, and, of those, 297 were fatalities, 1,434 involved pedestrians, and 1,105 involved bicyclists.

The IMPACT website data as of 11/15/2023 had a total of 105,796 crashes in Massachusetts in 2023, and, of those, 297 were fatalities, 1,434 involved pedestrians, and 1,105 involved bicyclists.

For more information on the Massachusetts Vulnerable Road User Safety Assessment:

A copy of the Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan is online:

World Day of Remembrance events this year in Massachusetts include an event in Worcester on Sunday, November 19, at 3:00 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church, 90 Main Street.

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