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June 14, 2019

Traffic deaths in Pennsylvania up nearly 5% in 2018

Largest increases were involving impaired drivers using drugs or alcohol, pedestrians, and senior drivers

Infrastructure Deaths
Carroll - Broad Street rush hour traffic and pedestrians Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

North Broad Street in Center City during evening rush hour.

Traffic deaths in Pennsylvania increased in 2018 statewide after a record-breaking low in fatalities the year before, PennDOT reported this week.

In 2018, 1,190 people died in traffic accidents, a 53-person increase – or 4.66% — during the same period in 2017. The largest increases were involving drug- or alcohol-impaired drivers, pedestrians and senior-aged drivers.

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Although the overall number of fatalities increased from 2017, single vehicle run-off-the-road crashes decreased, as well as crashes involving motorcycles and heavy trucks.

And despite this annual uptick, officials say the long-term trend is that crash deaths are continuing the fall. Figures from 2014 show an overall decrease with 164 motorcycle fatalities in 2018, which was a 14-year low. Fatalities among young drivers ages 16 and 17 were also at a new low. 

Here are some other figures PennDOT released on Thursday.

  1. Crashes involving alcohol- or drug-impaired drivers went up from 335 in 2017 to 355.
  2. Crashes involving pedestrians increased from 150 in 2017 to 201.
  3. Crashes involving drivers ages 65 to 74 increased from 124 in 2017 to 188.
  4. According to national data, more than 90% of crashes are caused by driver behavior.
  5. Between 2014 and 2018, more than $50 million in state funds were used to install safety measures like rumble strips, pavement markings, and signage.

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