The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) continues to see a downward trend in roadway fatalities locally, despite the numbers increasing statewide in 2020.
Fontaine Glenn was live in the newsroom with more on why this is and what our regions numbers look like.
Even though the numbers statewide increased, they still are showing a decreasing trend over the past 5 years of roadway deaths, including right here in Erie County.
Four types of fatal motor vehicle crashes increased since 2019 statewide, including single vehicles run off the road, local road crashes, motorcycles and speeding.
Here in our region, the lowest ever number of fatalities was recorded in Northwestern PA for 2020. In Erie County there were only 15 fatalities and in Crawford County there were 5 fatalities.
PennDOT Press Officer Jill Harry tells me there was about a 20% reduction in traffic as a result of the pandemic and that is just one of many factors that continues to help decrease roadway fatalities.
“I think it’s a combination of things, I think that PennDOT has been very proactive in the way they design roads and always looking for innovative ways to make those safety improvements — whether they’re big safety improvements like a complete redesign of an intersection or they’re smaller things like rumble strips — we’re always looking for those opportunities. I think also cars are becoming safer,” said Jill Harry, press officer, PennDOT.
Jill also says a huge factor contributing to the decline in fatalities is that almost 90% of roadway accidents were caused by driver behavior including road rage, trying to beat a light and speeding.