There were 1,291 people killed in crashes on Pennsylvania roads last year, the second-lowest number on record and 33 fewer than in 2010, according to PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch.
“While we are encouraged that the number of people killed on Pennsylvania roads dropped last year, we must remember that each of these victims has loved ones who have to deal with their loss each and every day,” Schoch said in a release last week. “It’s because of those lives lost and all the lives that we hope to save next year that we are working on several fronts to make Pennsylvania highways safer for everyone.”
PennDOT has invested approximately $50 million in the last five years for safety improvements such as cable median barriers, centerline and edgeline rumble strips and obstruction removal. PennDOT also invests approximately $20 million annually in state and federal funds for safety education and enforcement efforts statewide.
Fatalities in crashes involving a drinking driver decreased from 417 in 2010 to 379 in 2011, the lowest number in more than 10 years.
According to a PennDOT report, Bucks County saw 45 traffic fatalities in 43 fatal crashes in 2010.
Motorcyclist and bicyclist fatalities also decreased in 2011. Motorcyclist fatalities dropped from 223 in 2010 to 198 in 2011, while bicyclist fatalities decreased from 21 to 11 in that same time period.
Fatalities in hit-tree crashes also decreased, with 295 in 2010 compared to 250 in 2011. Fatalities resulting from cross-median crashes decreased from 84 in 2010 to 48 in 2011, and head-on crash fatalities fell to 158, the lowest number in more than a decade.
While many fatal crash categories saw decreases in 2011, some categories increased. Fatalities in crashes involving a 16-year old driver increased from 19 in 2010 to 29 last year. Crashes involving trains or trolleys and vehicles resulted in six fatalities, an increase from one fatality in 2010.
The lowest number of traffic fatalities ever recorded in Pennsylvania occurred in 2009, when there were 1,256 fatalities. The state’s traffic-fatality numbers are heading in the right direction, Schoch said, noting that in 2001, there were 1,531 fatalities.
For more information on PennDOT’s safety initiatives, visit www.DriveSafePA.org.