Traffic deaths on Pennsylvania roads reached an all-time low in 2013, according to statewide figures announced recently by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. There were 1,208 traffic deaths recorded last year, the fewest in a single year since recordkeeping began in 1928, PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said in a printed statement.
The Philadelphia area is safer compared to the rest of the state with just 233 of those traffic deaths having occurred in the five-county region, according to PennDOT’s District 6 office.
Statewide, the number of traffic or highway deaths declined in many types of vehicle crashes, but there were significant fatality reductions in crashes involving unbuckled passengers, speeding vehicles and single-vehicle scenarios. Unbuckled fatalities dropped from 503 in 2012 to 425 last year. Speeding-related fatalities dropped from 262 to 193. Deaths resulting from single-vehicle, “run-off-the-road” type crashes declined from 648 to 566.
In addition, drinking-related crash fatalities declined from 377 in 2012 to 342 last year, the fewest since 1997 when data collection began in the category.
Conversely, fatalities increased in crashes related to distracted drivers (57 in 2012 to 64 last year), as well as head-on or opposite-direction side-swipe crashes (148 to 178). Fatalities also increased in crashes involving drivers aged 75 and older (126 to 142). To help address safe driving among older people, PennDOT offers approved mature driver improvement courses statewide, as well as a brochure about talking to older drivers about safety. Visit www.JustDrivePA.com for information.
PennDOT has invested $50 million over the last five years for safety improvements at approximately 4,000 locations in the state. Improvements include low-cost safety measures such as centerline and edgeline rumble strips. PennDOT also invests about $20 million annually in state and federal funds for safety education and enforcement efforts. ••