Statewide Highway Fatalities Climb Despite National Decrease

| June 30, 2019

PENNSYLVANIA (EYT) – While the nation’s highways may be getting safer, Pennsylvania is experiencing a slight increase in the number of highway fatalities.

(PHOTO: Authorities investigate the scene of a fatal collision between a tractor-trailer and a tour bus on Interstate 380 near Mount Pocono, Pa. June 3, 2015 file photo, AP Photo/David Kidwell)

Reporting done by shows that while the occurrence of national highway fatalities decreased in 2018 as compared to 2017, overall traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania saw a slight increase during that time.

Information released by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) showed that there were 1,190 overall reported traffic fatalities within the state in 2018. This is a 4.7% increase over 2017’s 1,137.

All of this comes at a time when preliminary reports are showing that it is likely nationwide highway fatalities decreased by a possible 1% between the years 2017 and 2018.

For the past ten years, Pennsylvania has generally outpaced the nation in decreasing the number of highway fatalities.

A recent study shows that during that time period, the number of nationwide fatalities had only dropped by about 1%, whereas Pennsylvania drivers had seen a decrease in fatalities of about 18.9373%. These declines were largely driven by declines in fatalities involving drivers 16 or 17 years old and a 43% decline in statewide occurrences with fatalities involving a drunk driver.

Nevertheless, this was not the case in 2018 where Pennsylvania saw a 4.7% increase in the number of traffic fatalities compared to 2017.

While this increase could be statistically insignificant, there are a variety of possible explanations for it.

“Crashes involving senior drivers, impairment, and pedestrians were all up from 2017,” PennDOT Community Relations Coordinator Jamie Arehart told

There was an increase of 34% from 2017 to 2018 of pedestrian deaths. There was also a 22.2% increase in fatalities involving those 65 and older.

Arehart said that while overall there is an increase in traffic-related in fatalities, these results vary from county to county.


Venango County’s traffic fatality statistics remained unchanged from the years 2017 to 2018 with both having six fatalities of that nature. Half of those fatalities from 2018 involved drunk drivers.

Overall, Venango has had 19 traffic fatalities involving drunk drivers within the past ten years.


According to information from PennDOT, Clarion County highway fatalities shows an increase of 14.3% in 2018.

Arehart said that of the five counties composing District 10 (Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana, Jefferson) Clarion County had the most speeding fatalities and the highest number of deaths involving impaired driving in 2018.

Prior to 2018, Clarion County saw a decrease in the number of traffic fatalities over the last ten years with the decrease being 20% compared to the statewide decrease of 18.9%

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Category: Local News, Regional News