HARRISBURG — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that in 2021, statewide traffic deaths increased to 1,230 from 1,129 the previous year.
Pennsylvania roadway deaths were up about 9%, in line with a recently released report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, projecting a national increase of approximately 12% in the first nine months of 2021.
“Safety on our roadways is a shared responsibility,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said. “Whether you are a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist, we can all do our part to prevent crashes and fatalities. Buckle up every time you are in a vehicle. Always cross the road at an intersection or crosswalk. Always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or bicycle. Never drive, ride, or walk impaired or distracted. Let’s work together to reduce traffic deaths, because even one fatality is one too many.”
Pennsylvania’s updated 2022 Strategic Highway Safety Plan sets the groundwork for progressing “Toward Zero Deaths” by focusing on both infrastructure-based strategies and behavior change to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes. This is done by implementing roadway designs that emphasize minimizing the risk of injury to all road users, reducing inequities in our transportation network, and using cost-effective, data-driven methods.
The plan seeks to substantially reduce traffic related fatalities and serious injuries by addressing several safety focus areas, including three priority emphasis areas: lane departure crashes, impaired driving, and pedestrian safety.
In 2021, fatalities in crashes involving lane departure increased to 596, up from 551 in 2020, accounting for nearly half of highway fatalities across the state. Strategies to combat these crashes are aimed at keeping vehicles on the roadway, within the proper lanes of travel, and include low-cost safety improvements such as centerline or shoulder rumble strips, high friction surface treatments and cable median barrier.
Speeding, impaired, and distracted driving are leading factors in lane departure crashes.
Fatalities in crashes involving impaired driving decreased from 471 in 2020 to 450 in 2021, but still account for more than 35% of fatalities.
Pedestrian fatalities increased to 182, up from 146 in 2020.
Other crash types with notable increases in fatalities in 2021 include:
• Crashes involving a 16 to 17-year-old driver
• Crashes involving aggressive driving
• Motorcyclist fatalities
• Crashes involving heavy trucks
• Unrestrained fatalities
According to national data, driver behavior is a factor in more than 90% of crashes.
For more information on reportable crash data, visit PennDOT’s Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool website, www.crashinfo.penndot.gov.
For more information on the department’s highway safety initiatives, visit www.penndot.pa.gov/safety.