Number of Pennsylvania traffic deaths reached an all-time low in 2017, PennDOT says

HARRISBURG — Traffic deaths on Pennsylvania roadways reached a new low in 2017, dropping to 1,137 — the lowest total since record-keeping began in 1928, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The 2017 total is 51 less than it was in 2016, PennDOT says.

“Pennsylvania has continued to defy national crash trends by steadily decreasing the number of deaths on our roadways,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said in a press release announcing the figures. “Our biggest priority continues to be getting the public to their destinations safely through educational outreach, the latest innovations, effective enforcement and low-cost safety improvements.”

While the number of highway deaths dropped in many types of crashes, there were significant decreases noted in impaired driver, pedestrian, and unrestrained fatalities. Fatalities in impaired driver crashes dropped from 341 in 2016 to 246 in 2017. Unrestrained fatalities also decreased from 408 in 2016 to 378 last year. There were 150 pedestrian deaths in crashes in 2017 compared to 172 in 2016.

Aside from the year-to- year decline, longer term trends also continue to decrease. For example, compared to 2013, there were 71 fewer total traffic deaths, 203 fewer deaths in crashes involving impaired drivers, and 47 fewer unrestrained deaths.

There were some types of crashes which saw fatality increases in 2017. There were 153 fatalities that occurred in crashes involving drivers aged 75 years or older, up from 132 in 2016.

Also, fatalities in red-light running crashes increased to 35 from 28 in 2016.

Finally, fatalities in work zone crashes increased from 16 to 19.