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Pennsylvania Traffic Deaths Decrease Dramatically In 2011

According to a newly-released report from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the state had 33 fewer highway deaths in 2011 than in 2010. That means 2011 went down as the year with the second-lowest number of  fatalities since the 1940s, which is excellent news for Pennsylvania residents.

However, any number of highways deaths is heartbreaking for the families of the motor vehicle accident victims. This is why we all must do our part to keep the highways safe by never drinking and driving, putting down cellphones and other distractions, and always wearing a seat belt.

A spokesperson for PennDOT said that the department will continue to enforce safe driving practices like seatbelt laws and DUI enforcement. She also said that many of the department’s safety initiatives are “coupled with engineering improvements like installing center-line and edge-line rumble strips.”

Even though the PennDOT spokesperson was quick to point out that traffic safety really lies in the hands of drivers as 90 percent of highway motor vehicle accidents are caused by driver behavior, she said that driver behavior can be improved by safety efforts on behalf of the state. PennDOT’s goal is that the number of deaths will decrease each year until they reach zero.

Unfortunately, while the overall number of traffic deaths decreased in Pennsylvania, the number of deaths among 16-year-old drivers increased from 19 in 2010 to 29 in 2011.

The safety press officer for PennDOT District 11 said he hopes the state’s stricter Teen Graduated Licensing Law, which went into effect last year, will help reduce the number of fatal accidents among teen drivers.

Source: Essential Public Radio, “Highway Fatalities Decrease, Setting Record,” Emily Farah, March 16, 2012