Pennsylvania can be a challenging state to drive in. The long winter months present difficult weather conditions and the short summer months involve new obstacles, such as an influx of motorcycles on the road. Although it takes some time to analyze trends, meaning the up-to-date information is not yet available, the 2018 data from PennDOT reveals some interesting developments.

What’s changing for the better?                                           

  • Dropping to 164 deaths, motorcycle fatalities hit a 14-year low in 2018.
  • Deaths from “heavy trucks” dropped to 136, which is the lowest number in two decades.
  • Young drivers, ages 16-17, were responsible for only 26 fatalities in 2018. Compare this to the 101 deaths this category was linked to in 2007. This steep decline indicates that legislative attention could be having a positive effect.

What should we be concerned about?

  • Overall, traffic fatalities rose 4.7% in 2018, with a total of 1,190 deaths. Yet this is still the third-lowest total in 20 years.
  • There was a 34% increase in pedestrian fatalities, jumping from 150 in 2017 to 201 in 2018.
  • The 65- to 74-year-old bracket was responsible for a significantly higher number of deaths. In 2017, this group was involved in 124 fatalities. In 2018, they were involved in 188.
  • Fatalities increased on a statewide level for drug and alcohol-related crashes. Fatalities involving an impaired driver rose from 335 to 355.

According to a report from PennLive, there are positive and negative trends relating to traffic fatalities. Perhaps the most troubling thing to note is that the top five causes for fatal crashes in 2018 were all controllable factors, including driving under the influence, not wearing a seatbelt, crashing into a fixed object, driving off the road or driving over the age of 65.

What can you do to contribute to pushing trends in the right direction?