There was less traffic on the roads in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, this did not result in a decrease in traffic deaths. In fact, there were 70 more traffic fatalities in 2020 compared to 2019, according to statistics cited by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
That said, traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania continue to trend down. The total for 2020 was the second lowest number of annual fatalities on record.
PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said, “Pennsylvania is committed to moving toward zero deaths.”
2020 Saw Increases and Decreases in Crash Deaths
There were decreases in certain types of crashes in 2020 compared to the year before. For example, there were fewer deaths involving:
- Drivers 65 years old or older – Deaths decreased from 281 to 243.
- Head-on and sideswipe crashes – Deaths decreased from 158 to 128.
- Distracted driving – The number of deaths decreased to 47 from 62.
The news about traffic deaths is also encouraging when you look at long-term trends. For example, there were 59 fewer traffic deaths in 2020 compared to 2016. There were 86 fewer deaths involving lane departures and 60 fewer deaths involving people not wearing safety restraints.
Unfortunately, there were increases in other types of traffic deaths:
- Deaths from crashes involving vehicles running off the road increased from 447 to 506
- Deaths from crashes on local roads went up to 224 from 186
- Deaths from motorcycle crashes increased to 217 from 174
- Deaths from crashes caused by speeding increased to 188 from 162
It is difficult to say why there were more traffic deaths even though there was a 20 percent reduction in traffic. “We must continue to work together to make our roads safer for all drivers,” said Gramian.
One of the main takeaways from this data is over 90 percent of accidents result from driver behavior. That means it is up to individual drivers to operate their vehicles safely.
Call to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you lost a loved one in a car crash, talking to an experienced Harrisburg auto accident attorney can be an important step. Schmidt Kramer offers a free legal consultation with no upfront fees. That means there is no risk in contacting our firm to learn how we may be able to assist you.
Schmidt Kramer. Licensed. Local. Lawyers. Ph: (717) 888-8888.