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Fatal car crashes in Pennsylvania to increase by 2023 – NBC10 Philadelphia

What to know

  • Fatalities on Pennsylvania roads increased last year, while crashes involving bicycles, pedestrians, motorcycles and dangerous driving also increased.
  • PennDOT has a message for motorists: “It’s a crash, not an accident. Driving behavior is the leading factor in 83% of crashes.”
  • “Even one traffic fatality is one too many,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “Traffic deaths are preventable, but we need your help. Safety on our roads is a shared responsibility. We can only achieve zero fatalities if everyone works together.”

Traffic fatalities on Pennsylvania roads were up slightly in 2023, but some types of fatal crashes, such as crashes involving drunk drivers, have declined as of 2022.

Certain types of fatal accidents and general accidents in Pennsylvania in 2023

A total of 1,209 people died in car crashes in Pennsylvania last year, according to new data released on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. That’s about a 2.5% increase from the 1,179 traffic-related deaths in 2022.

The number of fatal accidents killing pedestrians and cyclists increased last year.

“There were 222 non-motorized fatalities in 2023, up from 199 in 2022,” PennDOT said. “Investing in infrastructure renewal and educating road users are just as important when it comes to improving safety for non-motorized road users.”

The number of fatal crashes involving motorcycles reached a high not seen in decades: “Motorcyclist fatalities peaked in 2023 at 238, up from 217 in 2022,” according to PennDOT.

Other types of fatal crashes also rose last year to levels not seen in years.

“Fatalities in frontal/opposing side crashes reached a 15-year high at 197, up from 181 in 2022,” PennDOT said. “The number of fatalities in lane departure crashes reached a five-year high of 606, up from 568 in 2022. Factors in these crashes include driving behavior such as speeding, impaired driving and distracted driving .”

“Even one traffic fatality is one too many,” said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. “Traffic deaths are preventable, but we need your help. Safety on our roads is a shared responsibility. We can only achieve zero fatalities if everyone works together.”

Spend millions to make roads safer

PennDOT is using federal funds to help that fight. PennDOT noted that its $29.1 million investment in behavioral safety programming is playing a role in making roads safer in the Keystone as the 2023 Statewide Traffic Fatality Data is released.

PennDOT also touted the hundreds of millions of dollars it has poured into safer infrastructure:

“From 2018 to 2023, approximately $482 million in Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funds were invested in 337 unique safety projects,” PennDOT wrote. “During the same period, an additional $50 million in state funds were invested in low-cost safety improvements at more than a thousand locations, including centerline and edgeline rumble strips and high-friction surface treatments.”

PennDOT has also invested $850,000 in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) funds in “a new safety education project aimed at reducing bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries in Pennsylvania by educating cyclists, pedestrians and motorists on the rules of the road related to the safety of vulnerable road users.”

The number of drunk driving fatalities and other types of fatal accidents will have decreased in 2023

The investment in safety has helped reduce certain types of traffic fatalities, including fatal drunk drivers, signalized intersections and unbraked crashes.

“There were 265 fatalities in crashes involving DUIs in 2023, up from 286 in 2022,” PennDOT said. “The number of deaths in crashes involving an impaired driver and under the influence of drugs was also down by 2023.”

PennDOT noted that it spends about $6 million annually on NHTSA to enforce drunk driving.

“There were 117 fatalities in crashes at signalized intersections, up from 133 in 2022,” PennDOT said.

Fewer people who were not wearing seat belts were also killed in accidents last year.

“Although the number of uncontrolled fatalities reached the lowest number since records began, they were still too many at 316,” PennDOT said. “Unchecked fatalities are completely preventable.”

Tips to help reduce the number of traffic fatalities

Don’t call crashes accidents.

“It’s a crash, not an accident,” PennDOT said. “Driver behavior is the leading factor in 83% of the approximately 1,100 fatal crashes that occur annually on Pennsylvania roadways. This behavior includes distracted, impaired or aggressive driving. This behavior is a choice. Drivers do not intend to cause an accident, but their choices kill innocent victims every day. Choose to do what is right, because your choices are not an accident.”

So, how can you drive more safely?

“Please pay attention behind the wheel, slow down and never drive impaired,” Carroll said. ‘And put on your seat belt! Your seat belt is your best defense against reckless drivers.”

PennDOT went even further with its messaging to cut the cord:

“As shown by PennDOT data, seat belts save lives,” the agency wrote. “It is estimated that 92% of unbelted occupants, or 282 people, who died in a crash while traveling in passenger vehicles, including cars, small trucks, vans and SUVs, could have survived if they had buckled up. PennDOT urges motorists to do their part to reduce rampant fatalities to zero – secure every trip, every time.”