PennDOT Adds Year-to-Date Fatalities Dashboard to Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) encourage all Pennsylvania motorists to drive safely and responsibly on our roadways and help "Put the Brakes on Fatalities."
October 10 is "Put the Brakes on Fatalities" Day. The 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.
"Pennsylvania may not be alone in seeing an increase in traffic fatalities this year, but that doesn't make it OK," said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. "Many traffic fatalities are completely preventable. We are asking all motorists to help us put the brakes on fatalities. Pay attention when behind the wheel, slow down, buckle up, and never drive impaired."
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.
"The frequency and severity of distracted driving behaviors are higher than ever," said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. "On average nine people die each day in the United States due to distracted driving, and thousands more are injured. Every time we get into our cars to start the ignition, we must commit to keeping our focus on the road – each and every time with no exception."
"We urge drivers to limit distractions and slow down," said PSP Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris. "The motoring public must make highway safety a priority to reduce the number of crashes on Pennsylvania's roadways."
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 fatalities in crashes involving impaired driving, fatalities in crashes involving speeding, fatalities in lane departure crashes, motorcyclist fatalities, and fatalities in crashes involving drivers aged 75 and older. 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.
In addition to behavioral safety, PennDOT focuses on infrastructure improvements to reduce fatalities and serious injuries. From 2017 through 2022, approximately $482 million in Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funds was invested in 337 unique safety projects. During that same timeframe, another $50 million in state funds was invested in low-cost safety improvements at over 1,000 locations. Aimed at reducing lane departure crashes and fatalities, examples of the improvements include centerline, edge-line, and shoulder rumble strips, curve warnings, cable median barriers, and high friction surface treatment.
To learn more about the PA Turnpike safety, visit www.PATurnpike.com/rampup/safety-keys.
For more information on the Pennsylvania State Police, visit psp.pa.gov.
To learn more about PennDOT's safety initiatives, visit www.PennDOT.pa.gov/Safety.
PennDOT's media center offers social-media-sized graphics highlighting topics such as aggressive driving, speeding, distracted driving, and seat belts for organizations, community groups, or others who share safety information with their stakeholders.
The public can join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #PutTheBrakesOnFatalities and #BeSafePA.
Follow PennDOT on Twitter and like the department on Facebook and Instagram.
Carl DeFebo, PTC, 717-645-2265 or Rosanne Placey, 717-675-4362
# # #