HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has reported that in 2022, statewide traffic deaths decreased to 1,179 from 1,230 in 2021.
Reportable crashes were also down in 2022, amounting to the second lowest on record since 1951, according to a news release.
“Pennsylvania is committed to moving toward zero deaths,” said Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation Michael Carroll. “Our biggest priority continues to be safe travel across all transportation modes, and we continue to work with our partners to decrease fatalities through education and enforcement.”
PennDOT focuses on data trends to drive enforcement and education improvements and invests approximately $23.5 million annually in federal grant funds statewide to support these behavioral safety programs.
In addition to behavioral safety, PennDOT focuses on infrastructure improvements to roadways in an effort to further reduce fatalities and serious injuries.
Approximately $482 million in Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program funds has been invested in 337 unique safety projects from 2017 to 2022. During that same timeframe, another $50 million of state funds was invested in low-cost safety improvements at over a thousand of locations. Examples of low-cost safety countermeasures include centerline and edge-line rumble strips and high friction surface treatments.
“It certainly is good news that our fatalities are decreasing, but they are still too high,” Carroll said. “One life lost is one too many, especially if the death could have been prevented. Safety is everyone’s responsibility. We owe it to each other to slow down and pay attention when we’re driving because these unsafe behaviors put everyone’s life at risk. And buckle up! Your seat belt is your best defense against reckless drivers.”
With the overall decrease in traffic deaths, fatalities in several crash types reached new lows.
“These numbers indicate that Pennsylvania is rebounding from the high number of traffic crashes and fatalities seen nationwide throughout the pandemic,” according to the news release.
Data shows that:
- Fatalities in crashes involving speeding (second lowest in more than 20 years) — 169 fatalities, down from 201 in 2021.
- Fatalities in hit fixed object crashes (second lowest in more than 20 years) — 361 fatalities, down from 397 in 2021.
- Unrestrained fatalities (third lowest in more than 20 years) — 354 fatalities, down from 378 in 2021.
- Fatalities in crashes involving a 16–17-year-old driver (fourth lowest in 20 years) — 28 fatalities, down from 45 in 2021.
- Bicyclist fatalities (second lowest in 10 years) — 15 fatalities, down from 24 in 2021.
- Fatalities in local road crashes (second lowest in five years) — 196 fatalities, down from 214 in 2021.
While the overall number of highway deaths decreased last year, increases were noted in several crash types. Fatalities in distracted driving crashes and head-on crashes reached a 10-year high, while fatalities in crashes at signalized intersections reached a 20-year high. Pedestrian fatalities reached the second highest number in 20 years, while fatalities in crashes involving 65–74-year-old drivers reached the third highest number in 20 years.
Data shows that:
- Fatalities in crashes involving distracted driving — 80 fatalities, up from 60 in 2021.
- Fatalities in head-on crashes –181 fatalities, up from 151 in 2021.
- Fatalities in crashes at signalized intersections –133 fatalities, up from 122 in 2021.
- Fatalities in crashes involving 65–74-year-old drivers — 169 fatalities, up from 163 in 2021.
Though motorcyclist fatalities decreased slightly, they reached a 10-year high in 2020, increasing further in 2021 to 226. Last year’s 217 fatalities ties 2020 for the second highest number in more than 10 years.
For more information on reportable crash data, visit PennDOT’s Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool.
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.