Local Road Deaths Dipped even as State Saw Spike
The 19% increase in traffic deaths statewide last year, revealed in recently updated state data, caught Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey by surprise.
His office has seen a decrease of more than 22% during the same time frame.
“The Department of Transportation made public that there were 409 road fatalities state-wide last year, up from 343 in 2020. That is also 14% above their 5-year average of 358 deaths a year,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “On Norfolk County roads, we saw 36 fatalities, down from 44 in 2020.”
The county has averaged 36 fatalities a year since 2017, he said.
District Attorney Morrissey has a team of 11 attorneys with advanced training in motor vehicle homicide and crash investigation. They respond to the scenes of major collisions to assist police in those investigations. “Having the attorney who will prosecute a case involved from the very beginning has proven very productive,” Morrissey said.
Traffic safety and the prevention of impaired and distracted driving have been central efforts of Morrissey’s terms as District Attorney. His office has sponsored TIPS training for alcohol servers around the region and underwritten ACTAR crash reconstruction training for municipal police.
He has provided prevention programming to 31 Norfolk County high schools, including grants for substance-free post-prom and post-graduation celebrations, partnering with AAA to bring in their Shifting Gears education program for new drivers on marijuana impairment, and bringing the Arbella Insurance Distractology safe-driving program to Norfolk County High Schools through his peer leadership program, among other initiatives.
“It is hard to attribute the disparity to any single factor,” District Attorney Morrissey said. “We are going to continue to work with our partners in the schools and local police departments to prevent every death we can.”