Highest Ranking Holiday For Crashes In Pennsylvania

With the holiday season approaching, the number of cars on the road increase due to people traveling to and from home to celebrate. Which means a higher chance of car crashes and fatalities. But which holiday is most likely to cause an accident on the road?

For folks in Pennsylvania, it’s Thanksgiving. Which makes sense, since over 50 million people in the U.S. will travel at least 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving this year. Making this year’s Thanksgiving travel volume the highest it’s ever been since 2005, as reported by AAA.

According to PennDOT, there were a total of 18,449 crashes and 213 fatalities just over the holidays in 2016. Of those, 4,500 crashes and 54 fatalities occurred surrounding Thanksgiving alone.  So how does that stack up to other holidays? Below are graphs courtesy of PennDOT that represent the ranking in descending order, of total crashes and fatalities,  for each holiday period.

pennsylvania holiday crash statistics

Unfortunately, the majority of these holiday-related crashes involve alcohol. In fact, alcohol-related car and pedestrian accident fatalities accounted for 32% of all Pennsylvania fatalities that occurred during holiday weekends in 2016.

So if you’re planning to travel this holiday reason, remember to drink responsibility and keep an eye out for drunk drivers on the road. You can help avoid drunk driving accidents and other serious Pennsylvania car accidents this holiday season by following these steps:

  • Always have a designated driver if you plan to drink alcohol
  • Watch out for motorcyclists and other vehicles sharing the road with you
  • Don’t text and drive or engage in any other distracted driving activities
  • Be alert and obey all traffic laws
  • Make sure you and all of your passengers are buckles up at all times
  • Give yourself enough time so that you are not driving in a hurry

The holidays are for celebrating, spending time with loved ones, and enjoying delicous foods – they’re not for car accidents. So take the right steps to prevent car accidents and keep you and your family safe this holiday season!

Deer Crashes On The Rise In Pennsylvania

Deer mating season is here, so your chances of being involved in a deer-related crash is at it’s highest. Fall and early Winter is considered to be peak mating season for deer, so be extra cautious of your surroundings while driving between October and December.

Deer Crash Statistics

According to State Farm’s annual deer claim study, Pennsylvania ranked #3 in the country for deer-related car accidents. That means that every time you get behind the wheel in Pennsylvania, there is a 1 in 67 chance of hitting a deer.

statefarmdeercollisionstatistics

The top 10 states at risk for hitting a deer include:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Montana
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Iowa
  5. Wisconsin
  6. South Dakota
  7. Minnesota
  8. Wyoming
  9. Michigan
  10. North Dakota

The highest state at risk is West Virginia, with 1 in 43 chances and Hawaii -not surprisingly – being the lowest risk state with 1 in 6,823 chances of hitting a deer while driving.

Under Pennsylvania state law, car accidents involving deer are considered not-at-fault accidents, and insurance companies are not legally allowed to increase policyholders’ premiums. But US drivers still spent an average of $4,179 on insurance claims for deer-related accidents across the country in between July 2016 to June 2017.

How To Avoid Deer-Related Collisions

According to statistics, deer collisions are more likely to occur around dawn and dusk. Daylight savings time ends in November, which will put more drivers on the road during peek deer activity hours. Drivers should be careful to remain alert and focused on the road especially during the early morning and late evening hours. Some other tips for preventing deer-related crashes altogether include:

  • Slow down and pay attention to all road signs (i.e. speed limit, deer crossing)
  • Wear a seat belt at all times
  • Avoid distracting activities while driving like texting or eating
  • If you see a deer on the side of the road, proceed with caution and be on the lookout for other deer crossing the road
  • Break to avoid hitting deer, but do not swerve

What To Do If You Do Hit A Deer

If you are involved in a deer collision, pull over safely and turn your hazard lights on. Document the incident so that you have all the necessary information if the collision results in injury or property damage.

If you hit a deer and it survives, stay away from the animal be cautious for any sudden movements as deer are unpredictable. However if the deer dies after a collision, The Pennsylvania Game Commission encourages drivers to report the incident as soon as possible to local authorities. You can also call the PA Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD to remove the deer from the road and prevent other motorists from any further danger.

You may not think that it could possibly happen to you, but taking the necessary precautions to avoid a deer-related accident is your best bet to stay safe.

 

Pennsylvania Driver Involvement in Crashes by Age and Sex 2015



The Cost of Motor Vehicle Crashes in Pennsylvania

Each year in the United States, the economic impacts of motor vehicle (MV) crashes total billions of dollars. More than property damage, these costs include medical and other related costs, lost productivity in the workplace, legal costs, and more.

Statistics reveal that in the state of Pennsylvania alone, the economic loss due to motor vehicle crashes was $14,121,634,477. That year, there were 127,127 traffic crashes reported that resulted in the loss of 1,200 lives, and 80,004 more being injured.

 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, 2015), alcohol involved crashes account for nearly a quarter of all crash costs in the U.S. In Pennsylvania, Alcohol involved crashes accounted for approximately 8% of all crashes. These crashes were 4.5 times more likely to result in a fatality than those not involving alcohol. In all, 29% of those killed in crashes were a result of alcohol involvement.

 

Injury severity also increases with alcohol involvement. Drinkers not only experience distorted perception and judgment; slower reaction times also result. This is especially of concern, as drinking drivers tend to speed, and neglect other safety considerations, including seat belt and helmet use.

A study by Zhao, Zhang, and Rong (2014) found that drinking drivers were affected in these ways and others, including attitude, vigilance, and reaction to the environment. Additionally, speed was significantly higher in drinking drivers group as they were more impulsive and sensation seeking.

Prevention Reduces the Cost of Car Crashes

The best way to reduce the cost of MV crashes in the state is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Additionally, lessening the likelihood of severe injury or death if and when a crash does happen is also important. For example, consistently using safety belts and car seats is one way of doing this (CDC, 2013).

Strategies for preventing crashes include:

  • Graduated driver licensing
  • Ignition interlocks for those convicted of driving while intoxicated
  • Sobriety checkpoints

 

Resources

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812013
http://www.penndot.gov/TravelInPA/Safety/Documents/2015_CFB_linked.pdf
https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/pdf/statecosts/pa-2015costofcrashdeaths-a.pdf