HARRISBURG – Traffic deaths in Pennsylvania in 2014 reached an all-time low, continuing a favorable trend as safety advocates work towards the nationwide goal of zero fatalities, according to acting PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards.
The 2014 number totaled 1,195, the lowest since recordkeeping began in 1928.
The Transportation Department (PennDOT) also announced that the public can now search for finalized crash and traffic fatality data using its new Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool, which is accessible at dotcrashinfo.pa.gov. The new tool reflects PennDOT’s commitment to meeting Gov. Tom Wolf’s agenda of “Government that Works.”
“PennDOT continuously strives to drive down crash and fatality numbers, and we ultimately want to reach zero deaths on our roads,” Richards said. “Keeping in mind that each crash or death involves a member of someone’s family, we urge the motoring public to be aware of their driving behavior by observing traffic laws, paying attention and using caution.”
PennDOT data shows that while the number of highway deaths dropped in many types of crashes, there were significant decreases in unbuckled, drinking-driver-related and hit-tree crashes last year when compared to 2013. Unbuckled fatalities dropped from 425 to 383. Deaths in drinking-driver related crashes declined to from 342 to 294. Fatalities in hit-tree crashes decreased from 254 to 221.
Fatalities increased in some types of crashes, including those involving hit utility poles and drowsy or sleeping drivers. There were 113 fatalities in crashes involving hit utility poles, up from 103 in 2013. Also, deaths in drowsy or asleep crashes increased to 23 from 10 in 2013.
PennDOT has invested $50 million over the last five years for safety improvements at approximately 4,000 locations. Types of low-cost safety countermeasures include centerline and edge-line rumble strips.
PennDOT also invests about $20 million annually in state and federal funds for safety education and enforcement efforts statewide.
Fatalities in crashes involving drivers ages 65 and older also increased, from 277 in 2013 to 300 in 2014.To help address safe driving in this age group, PennDOT offers information on approved Mature Driver Improvement courses available statewide, a brochure on talking with mature drivers and other safety tips at its highway safety information Web site, www.JustDrivePA.com.
With its release to the public, the Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool allows access to these and other types of crash data. The tool allows users to search data pulled from law enforcement crash reports involving passengers, drivers and different vehicle types.
“Highway safety is our top priority, and this tool will help educate our customers about safety in their communities,” Richards said. “The site also gives quick access to our many safety and emergency partners, community leaders and media who may want to review this information.”
The Custom Search Tool can display data showing the number of crashes, people involved, or vehicles involved. It can be filtered by timeframe, county or municipality, and by various crash characteristics. Additional statistics available in the site are crash, fatality and major injury statistics as well as access to annual crash facts publications.
To learn about PennDOT’s highway safety efforts visit www.JustDrivePA.com. Highway safety information is also shared on the department’s Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation, on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/PennDOTNews and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/PennsylvaniaDOT.