Statewide traffic deaths increased to 1,190 in 2018, up from a record low of 1,137 in 2017.
Pennsylvania still had its third lowest recorded number of highway fatalities in 2018 and other longer-term trends also continued to decrease, according to the data released Thursday by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
Compared to 2014, there were five fewer total traffic deaths, 37 fewer deaths in crashes involving impaired drivers, and 56 fewer fatalities in single vehicle run-off-the-road crashes.
“Even one life lost is one too many, and Pennsylvania is committed to moving towards zero deaths,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “Our biggest priority continues to be safe travel regardless of the mode you use, and we continue to work with our partners to decrease fatalities through education and outreach.”
Year-to-year decreases were noted in single vehicle run-off-the-road crashes, crashes involving motorcyclists and heavy truck crashes.
Fatalities in single vehicle run-off-the-road crashes dropped from 506 in 2017 to 478 in 2018. Motorcyclist fatalities also decreased from 185 in 2017 to 164 last year. There were 136 fatalities in 2018 crashes involving heavy trucks compared to 155 in 2017.
The following crash types saw fatality increases in 2018:
Crashes involving drug- or alcohol-impaired drivers – 355 fatalities, up from 246 in 2017;
Crashes involving pedestrians – 201 fatalities, up from 150 in 2017; and
Crashes involving drivers aged 65-74 – 188 fatalities, up from 124 in 2017.
According to national data, over 90 percent of crashes are caused by driver behavior. For this reason, PennDOT focuses on data trends to drive enforcement and education improvements and invests $18 million annually in federal grant funds statewide to support behavioral safety programs.
For more information on reportable crash data, visit PennDOT’s Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool (PCIT) website, www.crashinfo.penndot.gov or for additional information on the department’s highway safety initiatives, visit PennDOT.gov/safety.