Fatal car accidents in Pennsylvania reached an all-time annual low in 2017. Unfortunately, however, the state’s numbers increased in 2018 and 2019.

Exploring the causes of catastrophic collisions can help drivers in the state avoid serious accidents.

Single-person accidents

Crashes in which a lone driver ran his or her car off the road represented the highest number of Pennsylvania crash fatalities from 2017 to 2019. This type of accident resulted in 478 fatalities, often attributed to the driver speeding, becoming distracted or falling asleep at the wheel.

Pedestrian fatalities

Car accident deaths involving pedestrians increased 34% from 2017 to 2019. In 2017, 150 individuals perished while walking, while 201 pedestrians died in accidents in 2019. However, motorcycle fatalities decreased to a 14-year low in 2018, while truck fatalities hit a 20-year low the same year.

Accidents among senior drivers

Accident deaths involving drivers ages 65 to 74 increased by more than 51% over the three-year period. In 2019, 188 seniors died in motor vehicle accidents, compared to 124 in 2017. However, fatalities involving drivers ages 16 and 17 reached its lowest-ever total of 26 in 2018, down from a peak of 101 deaths in 2007.

Substance-related accidents

Pennsylvania also saw increases in three types of alcohol-related crashes. Fatal crashes involving at least one substance-impaired driver increased by nearly 14% from 2017 to 2019. The total number of substance-associated auto fatalities, including those involving bikers and pedestrians, increased by about 13% over the study period. Fatalities in which an impaired driver died increased by nearby 6% from 2017 to 2019.

After single-person accidents, failure to wear a seatbelt was the second most common factor in Pennsylvania’s fatal crashes during the study period. In addition, 381 crashes involved collision with a stationary object, the third most common factor in Pennsylvania fatalities.

Drivers can help prevent serious auto accident injury by abstaining from impaired driving, yielding to pedestrians, using their seatbelts and restraining children correctly while driving, and avoiding distractions such as electronic devices.