It’s a startling number. Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, an average of 3,287 deaths a day. We’re on a mission to change that by educating Pennsylvania drivers and lawmakers on ways to make our own roads even safer. To help achieve this, we recently created the 2015 Pennsylvania Crash Report. Our interactive study explores five-year accident trends, economic losses, crashes by age, total crashes by county, types of vehicles involved in crashes and so much more.
Pennsylvania Crash Report Overview
Pennsylvania has nearly 120,000 miles of roads and highways. Every year, approximately 100 billion vehicle-miles are driven on the state’s roadways. Unfortunately, not all of those miles accumulated by drivers are smooth sailing. According to the Pennsylvania Crash Report, there were 127,127 reportable traffic crashes in Pennsylvania in 2015. These crashes claimed the lives of 1,200 people and injured another 82,004 people.
The Financial Impact
Whether minor or serious, traffic accidents are costly. In fact, they have an annual economic toll of at least $1 trillion nationwide. While private insurers, pay for about half of all accidents, the government, individual crash victims and healthcare providers foot the bill, too.
Even those not directly involved in crashes still pay crash costs, primarily through insurance premiums, taxes and travel delay. In 2015, the economic loss due to traffic crashes in Pennsylvania was a little more than $15 billion. That equates to $1,103 to every man, woman, and child in the state. Property damage alone cost Pennsylvanians more than $203 million, minor injuries more than $307 million, moderate injuries more than $1 billion, major injuries more than $4 billion and deaths more than $7 billion.
Vehicles Involved In Crashes
According to the 2015 Pennsylvania Crash Report, passenger cars were involved in more crashes (117,776 TOTAL) than all other vehicle types combined. Compared to motorcycles, bicycles, light trucks, vans, and SUVs, they were also responsible for more vehicle fatalities (477 TOTAL). Light trucks, vans, and SUV vehicles came in second place with 77,413 crashes and 316 deaths reported. The good news is they were involved in a lower percentage of crashes than in previous years. Bicycles accounted for 1,282 accidents and 16 deaths. Occupant fatalities of motorcycles decreased from 186 in 2014 to 179 in 2015.
When Accidents Are Most Likely To Occur
According to our data, more crashes (20,327 TOTAL) occurred on Friday followed by the weekend. Those three days are when more traffic fatalities occurred as well. This could possibly be attributed to the increase in alcohol use around this time. In fact, a 2015 national study seems to confirm this. Examining federal road accident data, it concluded that alcohol consumption increases on Fridays and Saturdays, with Saturday drinking extending until early Sunday morning.
January proved to be the most dangerous month for traveling. It accounted for most of the traffic accidents—13,322 altogether—but not deaths. Fatalities tended to increase during months with holiday periods due to the volume of traffic on the roadway. Many times the weekend before and the weekend after the holiday had nearly as many crashes and fatalities, and in some instances more.
Some hours of the day are obviously more dangerous than others when it comes to navigating the state’s highways, too. For example, crashes and deaths were higher during peak travel times, specifically between 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM. This could be due to the fact that around these times, more people are picking their kids up from school as well as getting off work. Some hours of the day experienced a low percentage of crashes, but they were deadlier. For example, nearly 4 percent of all crashes in 2015 occurred in the 8:00 PM hour, but 6 percent of all deaths—the second highest percentage—occurred then.
Who’s At Risk
Of all drivers represented in crashes, young drivers (ages 16-21) particularly stand out. This, however, will probably come as no surprise. After all, they are the age group who are the least experienced at driving. The numbers also reflect that. According to our research, younger drivers were responsible for nearly twice of all traffic accidents. Perhaps, this is due to over confidence, peer pressure and easy distractions such as the radio or cell phone. Surprisingly, mature drivers (65 and up) accounted for the fewest traffic accidents—around one percent. Perhaps this is because older drivers are less inclined to drive themselves following a big decline in vision, hearing or mobility.
A Final Note
We hope that you’ve found the stats in this blog beneficial. To view the complete data, click here. When traveling Pennsylvania’s highways, we urge drivers to practice safety and most importantly wear their seatbelts. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, out of the 1,200 people who lost their lives in traffic accidents in Pennsylvania in 2015, 205 WOULD HAVE SURVIVED had they been wearing their seatbelt.
View the interactive Pennsylvania Crash Report here.