5 Things You Need to Know About PA's 2015 Crash Stats

Describe the image

A wise man once said that people who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Here at Edgar Snyder & Associates, we believe this applies to drivers, too.

In 2015, 1,200 people died in car accidents on Pennsylvania roadways—and more than 80,000 were injured in over 127,000 crashes. According to the state Department of Transportation (PennDOT) that means that in 2015, three people lost their lives in crashes every day.

Statistically speaking, 2015 had the second-lowest rate of vehicle fatalities since PennDOT began gathering crash data way back in 1935.

Despite that ranking, there is much to be learned from Pennsylvania's 2015 crash statistics. Our car accident injury attorneys wanted to be sure you were aware of some key takeaways so neither you, nor a loved one, are doomed to repeat history.

Here are five things you should know about Pennsylvania's 2015 crash statistics:

1. Crash Deaths Down, But Crash Injuries Up

It's important to note that while fatal crashes decreased across the board in 2015, in many categories, crash injuries are on the rise.

Consider this:

  • Pedestrian deaths decreased from 166 in 2014 to 153 in 2015. However, pedestrian injuries increased from 3,985 in 2014 to 4,002 in 2015.
  • Motorcycle deaths decreased from 186 in 2014 to 179 in 2015. However, motorcycle injuries increased from 3,207 in 2014 to 3,312 in 2015.

The takeaway? Don't let the relatively low number of fatal car crashes in 2015 lull you into a false sense of security on the road. The sad truth is that one in every 44 Pennsylvanians was involved in a reportable crash—and one out of just 156 residents of the Keystone State were injured in one.

2. Thanksgiving is the Deadliest Holiday for Drivers

In 2015, one holiday stood out among the others as the most deadly: Thanksgiving.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, 51 people died in motor vehicle crashes, and another 4,634 were injured.

It's worth mentioning: Holidays are almost always synonymous with parties, and with parties come alcoholic beverages. With alcohol comes impairment, which may ultimately lead to drinking and driving.

Here in Pennsylvania, 42 percent of deaths that occurred over holiday weekends were alcohol-related. More than 14 percent of the fatal crashes that occurred during the Thanksgiving weekend were alcohol-related, as were nearly 11 percent of those that happened over Memorial Day.

The takeaway? Drive sober or get pulled over during the holidays.

3. DUI Crashes Are Still a Major Concern

Drinking and driving continues to be a top safety concern for state transportation officials year-round—not just on the holidays. In fact, 29 percent of all traffic deaths in 2015 were alcohol-related.

Of particular concern was the number of drinking drivers younger than 21. About 16 percent of fatalities among 16-20 year olds were drinking drivers—up 3 percent over the year prior.

The DUI statistics for 21 to 25 year olds was equally troubling. According to PennDOT, 44 percent of crash fatality victims in that age range were drinking drivers—up slightly from the previous year.

Here are some other 2015 Pennsylvania DUI statistics we wanted to pass along for your consideration:

  • 74 percent of drinking drivers in 2015 were male.
  • 73 percent of DUI crashes occurred on the weekends and when it was dark

The takeaway? Don't drink and drive—select a designated driver, call a cab, or summon an Uber.

4. Repeat After Us: Seat Belts Save Lives

It's conventional wisdom that is consistently backed up by state and national statistics: Seat belts save lives. In fact, studies estimate that when used correctly, seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injuries to front seat passengers by as much as 45 percent, and serious injuries by as much as 50 percent.

Seat belt use is even more critical for light-truck occupants. Seat belt use reduces their risk of suffering a fatal injury by 60 percent, and the risk of serious injury by about 65 percent.

In 2015 in the Keystone State:

  • 79.4 percent of all people involved in motor vehicle crashes were wearing seat belts.
  • 50.6 percent of people who died in crashes were not wearing seat belts.

The takeaway? Buckle up every time. No excuses.

5. Road Conditions Matter

A recent report ranked Pittsburgh and Philadelphia among the least-safe cities for drivers. Our car accident injury attorneys have long known that Pennsylvania topography and road conditions often play a huge role in motor vehicle crashes.

The 2015 Pennsylvania crash statistics show that inclement weather was a contributing factor in many motor vehicle crashes.

Consider this:

  • Rain and/or fog were contributing factors in 11.8 percent of Pennsylvania car crashes in 2015.
  • Rain and/or fog were a contributing factor in 9.2 percent of fatal crashes in the Keystone State in 2015.
  • Snow, sleet or freezing rain was a contributing factor in 7.8 percent of crashes in the state in 2015.
  • Snow, sleet or freezing rain was a contributing factor in 3.3 percent of all 2015 fatal crashes in Pennsylvania.

The takeaway? Please don't underestimate potentially dangerous weather-related road conditions—and make sure you properly prep your vehicle in the fall and winter, and always give yourself extra time when road conditions aren't prime.

Here at Edgar Snyder & Associates, we know all too well how devastating a car accident can be—and we hope you never have to endure one. We also hope all Pennsylvania motorists will resolve to drive more carefully this year in an effort to make 2017 the safest one yet for everyone on the road.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration