Traffic deaths in Pa. reach all-time low

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN) — The number of traffic fatalities on Pennsylvania’s roads dropped to a record low in 2013.

PennDOT said 1,208 traffic deaths occurred on Pennsylvania’s roads, which is the lowest number since record keeping began in 1928. Seven of those fatalities occurred in Lawrence County and 28 occurred in Mercer County.

In 2012, the state recorded 1,310 fatal accidents. The previous record low was 1,256 traffic deaths in 2009.

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 fatalities dropped from 503 in 2012 to 425 in 2013. Speed-related 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 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.

Fatalities increased in some types of crashes, including those involving distracted drivers and in head-on or opposite direction sideswipe crashes. There were 64 fatalities in crashes involving distracted drivers, up from 57 in 2012. Also, deaths in head-on or opposite direction sideswipe crashes increased to 178 in 2013, up from 148 in 2012.

PennDOT has invested $50 million over the past five years for safety improvements across the state, including center line and edge-line rumble strips, plus another $20 million for safety education and enforcement efforts.

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