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Pennsylvania's 2013 traffic deaths lowest ever

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has announced the lowest number of deaths on the state’s roads since recordkeeping began in 1928. The agency reports that there were 1,208 fatalities recorded in 2013, with significant decreases noted in unbuckled, speeding and single vehicle run-off-the-road related deaths: unbuckled fatalities dropped from 503 in 2012 to 425; speeding-related fatalities decreased from 262 in 2012 to 193 last year; and deaths attributed to single-vehicle, run-off-the-road crashes declined to 566, from 648 in 2012. There was also a significant decrease in the number of fatalities in crashes involving a drinking driver, which decreased from 377 in 2012 to 342 last year; the lowest number since 1997 when this type of data collection began.

However, 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 fatalities in crashes involving distracted drivers, up from 57 in 2012, and deaths in head-on or opposite direction side swipe crashes increased to 178, up from 148 in 2012. Announcing the figure, PennDOT secretary, Barry J Schoch, said, “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. 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.”

PennDOT has invested US$50m 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. The agency also invests about US$20m annually in state and federal funds for safety education and enforcement efforts statewide.

April 9, 2014

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