Local

Recent teen driving deaths alarm experts in Mass.

“These kids have been pent up for two years and I think this is going to be a very bad year for teen fatalities."

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
A memorial of bouquets in Marshfield marked where a Norwell teen died in a crash.


Their deaths occurred in horrifying succession: On Feb. 12, an 18-year-old died after crashing into a guardrail in Dover. On March 18, another 18-year-old was killed after driving off a causeway in Marblehead. A day later, a 16-year-old driver crashed into a tree in Marshfield, killing a 17-year-old passenger.

At a time when motor vehicle crash fatalities are surging nationwide, the recent deaths of three Massachusetts teenagers have alarmed experts, who fear what the warmer months portend for the state’s youngest drivers. “I have always seen an increase in teen fatalities in the spring,” said crash reconstructionist and retired state trooper Ross Panacopoulos, owner of Triad Driving Academy in Beverly. “These kids have been pent up for two years and I think this is going to be a very bad year for teen fatalities, in my opinion, just from what I’ve seen in the past and from what seems to be transpiring now.”

Advertisement:

According to preliminary state Department of Transportation data, crashes involving drivers age 20 and younger in Massachusetts plummeted from just under 22,800 in 2019 to roughly 16,400 in 2020, when COVID restrictions dramatically reduced the number of people on the roads. But that number has jumped 31 percent to just over 21,500 crashes involving young drivers in 2021.

Finish the story at BostonGlobe.com.

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com