October 10 was "Put the Brakes on Fatalities" Day. This national campaign encourages all road users to do their part to help prevent traffic fatalities.
According to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), national traffic fatalities dropped in the first half of 2023 by approximately 3.3 percent as compared to the same time frame in 2022. The estimates show fatalities decreased in 29 states, while 21 states, including Pennsylvania, have projected increases in fatalities.
In Pennsylvania, current 2023 preliminary data projects deaths on our roadways will increase by approximately six percent. In 2022, fatalities decreased by about four percent, from 1,230 in 2021 to 1,179 in 2022, after two straight years of increases. In 2019, fatalities dropped to 1,059, the lowest since record keeping began in 1928.
PennDOT recently added a new year-to-date dashboard to the Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool available online at www.crashinfo.PennDOT.gov. Crash data is submitted to PennDOT from police agencies across the state and then processed and reviewed for accuracy. The data displayed in the new dashboard is based on police reports received and processed by PennDOT to date, so the numbers may change as new and updated information is received.
Areas of concern within 2023 statewide crash data include motorcyclist fatalities, fatalities in crashes involving drivers aged 75 and older, fatalities in crashes involving impaired driving, fatalities in crashes involving speeding, and fatalities in lane departure crashes. Fatalities in work zone crashes and bicyclist fatalities have already exceeded last year's total fatalities in the categories.
Drivers can help reduce crashes and fatalities by always following the speed limit and paying attention when behind the wheel, especially in work zones where roadway conditions can change every day.
Although driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is completely avoidable, fatalities in crashes involving an impaired driver still amount to nearly 40 percent of all traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania. Drivers can help save lives by always planning ahead for a sober driver or using public transportation or a ride-share service.
Last year, nearly a dozen safety advocates from around the state, including PennDOT, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission partnered to create a video urging safe driving.
To learn more about PennDOT's safety initiatives, visit www.PennDOT.pa.gov/Safety.