Pa. traffic deaths at historic lows, again

Pa. traffic deaths at historic lows, again

PennDot says that traffic deaths in 2014 were at their lowest level since recordkeeping began in 1928.

Last year, the state transportation agency says 1,195 people died in traffic, a slight tick down from 2013, when 1,208 people died on Pennsylvania roads and 2012 when more than 1300 people were killed by cars.

Nationally, the number of traffic deaths has been trending downward for several years, a statistic that experts attribute to safer cars and improvements in highway design.

“Obviously, cars are safer now,” said Ashley Schoch, a spokesperson for PennDOT. The seatbelt rate has gone up significant. We’ve also invested $20 million annually in education and enforcement.”  

In Pennsylvania, fatal crashes have fallen by more than half since their 1973 peak, when 2,444 were killed.

Some of those improvements have been relatively cheap, the department says. Rumble strips on the sides and centers of roads are particularly cost-effective.

Thirty of those traffic deaths in 2014 came from distracted driving, which represented a slight decline from previous years. One-third of those who died were not wearing a seatbelt. Alcohol was a factor in one in four fatal car crashes.