Millions of people are injured and tens of thousands lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents across the United States every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36,906 people were killed in auto accidents in 2019.
With about 120,000 miles of roads and highways and 102.8 billion miles traveled in 2020 alone, Pennsylvania is no stranger to traffic accidents. In this blog, we are going to take an in-depth look at the commonwealth’s most recent motor vehicle accident statistics, based on 2020 Crash Facts & Statistics provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
Motor Vehicle Crash Stats by Day & Hour
Looking at the total number of reported traffic accidents in Pennsylvania in 2020, an average of 286 collisions occurred every day, equaling about 12 crashes every hour. 168 people were injured in reportable crashes every day and 3 people lost their lives, equaling about 7 injuries every hour and 1 fatality every 8 hours. Another interesting—and somewhat frightening—statistic presented by PennDOT involves accident rates based on the commonwealth’s population.
According to Pennsylvania population and auto accident rates from 2019:
- 1 out of every 57 people was involved in a reportable traffic accident.
- 1 out of every 209 people was injured in a traffic accident.
Pennsylvania Traffic Fatalities & COVID-19
Most motor vehicle accidents are not fatal, but those that are cause irreparable harm to surviving family members and loved ones. In 2020, the number of fatalities in Pennsylvania traffic crashes was 1,129—the second lowest it has been for the past 93 years. Some attribute the decrease in traffic fatalities to COVID-19, with shutdowns and stay-at-home orders limiting the number of cars on the road. We may see an increase in traffic fatalities in 2021 with the commonwealth’s reopening.
Economic Losses Caused by Traffic Accidents
Traffic accidents cause significant economic losses in Pennsylvania and nationwide. According to the PennDOT report, the total estimated cost of traffic accidents in the commonwealth was over $25.8 billion in 2020.
The following is a breakdown of the economic cost of PA auto accidents, by their severity:
- Fatal collisions: $14.2 billion
- Serious injury crashes: $2.8 billion
- Minor injury crashes: $5.7 billion
- Possible injury collisions: $2.4 billion
- Non-injury/property damage only crashes: $727.6 million
PA Auto Accidents by Vehicle Type
In 2020, passenger cars were involved in more traffic accidents than any other type of vehicle. In fact, they were in more crashes than all other kinds of motor vehicles combined.
Here is a list of what vehicle types in Pennsylvania are involved in the most accidents:
- Passenger cars: 88,763 vehicles
- Light trucks, vans, and SUVs: 65,715 vehicles
- Heavy trucks (weighing at least 10,000 pounds): 6,905 vehicles
- Motorcycles: 3,503 vehicles
- Bicycles: 822 vehicles
- Commercial buses: 321 vehicles
- Other: 2,061 vehicles
What Causes Pennsylvania Traffic Accidents?
Every accident is different and may have one or more factors that led to its occurrence. While some believe that external factors like heavy weather or other adverse conditions cause most collisions, Pennsylvania traffic accident statistics say otherwise. The majority of auto accidents in the commonwealth in 2020 involved dry roads (74.6%) and mild weather (74.2%). The PennDOT report states that this can be attributed to “drivers failing to use caution under optimal road conditions.”
Most auto accidents involve some type of driver error. This may include any act or failure to act on the part of a driver that constitutes a traffic violation or improper care in the circumstances, such as driving drunk or looking away from the road.
According to Pennsylvania traffic accidents involving driver error, the leading causes were:
- Speeding: 25,021 crashes
- Distracted driving: 11,019 crashes
- Improper turning: 10,483 crashes
- Proceeding without clearance: 6,799 crashes
- Drinking driver: 6,565 crashes
- Improper passing: 4,545 crashes
- Tailgating/following too closely: 4,476 crashes
- Drowsy driving: 1,948 crashes
Talk to a Pennsylvania Car Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in any type of traffic accident in Pennsylvania, you owe it to yourself to involve an attorney. You could be facing extensive and expensive medical care and permanent injuries that prevent you from returning to work or doing the things you once loved. At Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC, we want to help you avoid becoming just another statistic. You are a real person who has suffered real losses, and our goal as Pennsylvania car accident attorneys is to help you recover, rebuild, and move on.
To find out how we can help you, call (888) 498-3023! We’ve been serving injured clients across Pennsylvania for nearly 100 years.