Highway deaths in 2013 were at a record low, PennDOT announced today.
According to PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch, there were 1,208 highway deaths in Pennsylvania last year, the lowest number since the agency began keeping records.
“Though Pennsylvania has made significant progress in reducing highway crashes and deaths, our efforts to ensure that all travelers reach their destinations safely will remain paramount,” Schoch said. “However, our efforts cannot reach their potential if drivers refuse to do their part by observing traffic laws and always using common sense on our roads.”
Highway deaths related to unbuckled passengers, drunken driving, speeding and single car crashes decreased in 2013.
Speeding-related fatalities decreased from 262 in 2012 to 193 last year, according to PennDOT. Fatalities in crashes involving a drunken driver decreased from 377 in 2012 to 342 last year, the lowest number since that data collective began in 1997.
However, fatalities increased in crashes involving distracted drivers and in head-on or opposite direction side swipe crashes. There were 64 fatalities in crashes involving distracted drivers, up from 57 in 2012, according to PennDOT.
“Regardless of the record-low number of highway deaths recorded this year, we must never forget that these aren’t just random statistics, but rather they were somebody's loved one,” Schoch said. “With that, we turn our attention to those crash areas where Pennsylvania saw an increase in fatalities.”
PennDOT has invested $50 million over the last five years for highway safety improvements, including centerline and edge-line rumble strips.