Northeast Times

Traffic deaths in Pennsylvania reach all-time low in 2013

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. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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