Pennsylvania Car Fatalities Lowest Number Ever in 2013
Penndot Secretary Barry J. Schoch announced good news on April 8th. The news was that the number of car fatalities on Pennsylvania roads hit a record low last year. In 2013, 1,208 deaths were recorded. Although one death is too many, this is the lowest number of deaths since recordkeeping began in 1928.
“Though Pennsylvania has made significant progress in reducing highway crashes and deaths, our efforts to ensure that all travelers reach their destinations safely will remain paramount. However, our efforts cannot reach their potential if drivers refuse to do their part by observing traffic laws and always using common sense on our roads.” Barry J. Schoch
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation notes that while the number of highway deaths dropped in many types of crashes, there were significant decreases noted in unbuckled, speeding and single vehicle run-off-the-road related deaths. Unbuckled car fatalities dropped from 503 in 2012 to 425. Speeding-related car fatalities also decreased from 262 in 2012 to 193 last year. Deaths attributed to single-vehicle, run-off-the-road crashes declined to 566, down from 648 in 2012.
Another area where significant numbers were noted includes car fatalities in crashes involving a drinking driver which decreased from 377 in 2012 to 342 last year, the lowest number since 1997 when this data collection began.
“Regardless of the record-low number of highway deaths recorded this year, we must never forget that these aren’t just random statistics, but rather they were somebody’s loved ones. With that, we turn our attention to those crash areas where Pennsylvania saw an increase in fatalities.” Barry J. Schoch
Car fatalities increased in some types of crashes, including those involving distracted drivers and in head-on or opposite direction side swipe crashes. There were 64 car fatalities in crashes involving distracted drivers, up from 57 in 2012. Also, deaths in head-on or opposite direction side swipe crashes increased to 178 up from 148 in 2012.
PennDOT has invested $50 million over the last five years for safety improvements at approximately 4,000 locations. These include low-cost safety measures such as centerline and edge-line rumble strips. PennDOT also invests about $20 million annually in state and federal funds for safety education and enforcement efforts statewide. To help address safe driving in this age group, PennDOT offers information on approved Mature Driver Improvement courses available statewide, a brochure on talking with mature drivers and other safety tips at its highway safety information website, www.JustDrivePA.com.