Motorcycle Accidents on the Rise in Philadelphia

According to new data, motorcycle accidents in Pennsylvania are higher than they have been in three years. It’s a well known fact that motorcycles are inherently less stable, less visible and offer less protection than a traditional motor vehicle. They are a popular and an economic means of transportation in the city of Philadelphia, the meandering roads and narrow city streets make motorcycles a practical choice to get around. Knowing the trends and being aware of road dangers, fatality rates and taking safety precautions can help keep riders safe.

According to the Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers at Anapol Weiss, motorcycle accidents commonly occur when:

  • Motorcycle parts malfunction
  • Passenger vehicle drivers fail to see motorcyclists
  • There’s roadway hazards, including loose gravel, construction zones or standing water that prevent motorcycles from maintaining balance
  • Motorcyclists or cars engage in reckless behavior that causes an accident

A Look at the Most Recent Motorcycle Statistics in Philadelphia:

  • In 2016, there were 3,454 motorcycle accidents.
  • Across most age groups and all vehicle accidents, 3 out of 4 drivers in crashes were male
  • 192 of these accidents were fatal
  • 174 deaths were drivers, while 18 were passengers
  • 3,321 riders were injured
  • Total motorcycle crashes increased 1.2% from 2015
  • Fatal motorcycle accidents increased 7.3% from 2015
  • Of those deaths, 49% were not wearing a helmet

According to Data released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “A total of 4,976 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2016. Motorcyclist deaths had been declining since the early 1980s but began to increase in 1998 and continued to increase through 2008. Motorcycle deaths accounted for 13 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths in 2016 and were more than double the number of motorcyclist deaths in 1997.”

Although there has been a shallow decline in the number of deaths throughout the years, new observations show 2016 hit an 8 year high for both motorcycle vehicle crashes and passenger vehicle occupant deaths.

Driver Involvement in Alcohol Related Crashes

According to the most recently released national data, in 2016 motorcyclists had the largest percentage of drinking drivers to total drivers compared to drivers in other vehicles. Drunk drivers on motorcycles accounted for 7.7% of total crashes.

  • 26% of fatally injured motorcyclists had a Blood Alcohol concentration at or above the legal limit (0.08%)
  • 37% of drivers were above the legal limit in single vehicle crashes
  • 47% of motorcycle drivers were killed at night or in the early morning hours (9 p.m – 6 a.m) and had BAC’s at or above the legal limit

Motorcycle Type and Engine Size a Variable Factor

According to the report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, it’s possible there is a direct correlation between engine size and motorcycle accidents. A look at the numbers reveals 33% of motorcyclists killed in 2016 had engines larger than 1,400 CC. This is compared to 9% in 2000 and less than 1% in 1990.

The majority of fatal motorcycle accidents across the nation in 2016 occurred on a Touring bike with an engine larger than 1,400 CC. Among the fatally injured, 96% of touring bike drivers were 30 or older. Additionally, 84% of standard bike riders were 30 and over.

engine type and motorcycle type a variable factor in accidents


In 2017, there was 845,977 registered motorcyclists on the road in Pennsylvania. Motorcycles are a cost efficient and enjoyable form of transportation. It’s unfortunate that these accidents are inevitable on the streets of Philadelphia. However, wearing a helmet, avoiding riding at night and using proper safety gear that keeps you visible and safe can greatly contribute to staying safe on the roads. In addition, traveling at safe speeds and using proper turn signals can benefit all pedestrians, bicyclists and cars on the road. Practicing safe and responsible riding will keep Philly roads safer.


Crashes Involving Hand-held Phones On The Rise In Pennsylvania

Research from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation shows that the number of fatalities involving Pennsylvania drivers using hands-free or hand-held phones has climbed in recent years. This data shows that drivers who used hand held devices are in more accidents than those who use hands free. This is because hands free devices give the driver more control over the wheel and place more emphasis on focusing on the road.

This numbers also places emphasis on current Pennsylvania phone laws that do not prohibit the use of handheld cell phone use behind the wheel.
Hand held crashes are much more common all over the country and place drivers is a more vulnerable, distracted state. According to the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Anapol Weiss and data reported by PennDot, every day at least three people die from car accidents in Pennsylvania and there are approximately 15 crashes reported per hour. They explain negligence, such as driving while talking on the phone or texting is directly related to the high number of traffic accidents each year in both Pennsylvania urban and rural areas.

Counties in Pennsylvania with the most amount of hand-held crashes and fatalities include:

Pennsylvania Counties With Hand-Held Crash Stats 2016

A Closer Look at the Data

  • Allegheny had one hand-held related fatal accidents and 632 crashes
  • Montgomery had two hand-held related fatalities and 396 total crashes
  • Philadelphia had only one hand-held related fatality and 336 total crashes

Luckily, these types of crashes are generally “fender-bender” crashes that involve very minor injuries. Although the fatality rate for hand held crashes are low, it still doesn’t mean they’re safe. Hand-held or hands-free car accidents can be extremely dangerous, costly, and can cause major traffic delays. A closer look at the data shows an increase in  hand-held phones and hands-free phone accidents every year:

Hands free phones statistics 2016

Hand Held Phone Statistics Pennsylvania 2016

Pennsylvania Cell Phone Laws

Conventional wisdom and the Pennsylvania texting-while-driving  ban prohibits any driver from using an Interactive Wireless Communication Device to send, read or write a text message while your vehicle is in motion:

  • Defines an IWCD as a wireless phone, personal digital assistant, smartphone, portable or mobile computer or similar devices that can be used for texting, instant messaging, emailing or browsing the Internet.
  • Defines a text-based communication as a text message, instant message, email or other written communication composed or received on an IWCD.
  • Institutes a $50 fine for convictions under this section.
  • Makes clear that this law supersedes and preempts any local ordinances restricting the use of interactive wireless devices by drivers.

The state of Pennsylvania currently does not prohibit the use of hand-held phones but does prohibit IWCD’s (Interactive Wireless Communication Device). An IWCD prohibits reading, sending or surfing the web on your phone and includes wireless phones, portable or mobile tablets and computers. Having a ban on hand-held phones can positively impact collision rates according to a study conducted in 2012 by the University of California, Berkeley. The study analyzed driving accidents in California during the first four years California’s hand-held ban was in place.

Their study found:

  • Traffic deaths dropped 22%
  • Death among hands-free drivers dropped at a similar rate
  • Deaths blamed on drivers using handheld phones went down and by 47%
  • The number of physical injuries in the state declined overall and the ban ultimately resulted in less distracted drivers on the road.

Although hand held phone laws are not currently implemented in Pennsylvania, a closer examination of the facts can demonstrate that any phone activity behind the wheel is dangerous and can result in a yearly increase in accidents and fatalities.

Pennsylvania Winter Driving Safety

From 2011 to 2015, Pennsylvania was considered one of the top five deadliest states for winter car accidents. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Pennsylvania had an average of about 83 fatal car accidents during the winter months, topping the list at number three.

Causes of Winter Accidents

Unfortunately, 25% of these fatal Pennsylvania car accidents involve out-of-state drivers. The reason behind this? Weather conditions that out-of-staters have never seen before. And although fatal winter accidents can be caused by a number of factors, the main culprit is the weather. In fact, 1 out of 5 car accidents occur during inclement weather. The following are the leading causes of winter accidents on the road.

Poor Visibility

During the winter months blizzards, hail, heavy snow, rain and fog can reduce visibility on the roads and increase the risk of an accident. In addition, snow pile up on the road can make it harder for drivers to see traffic signs, pedestrians, vehicles and other objects along the road.

Slippery Roads

Sometimes the causes of car accidents on the road are also caused by things we can’t see. When it rains or temperature drops down, roads can be come slippery with black ice. Black ice on the road forms from light freezing rain or snow that has melted and re-freezed.

Car Condition

Steering through harsh weather is already tough enough, but having a vehicle that’s not equipped to do so is detrimental. If you car has worn out or bald tires, your risk of getting in an accident from the road conditions are increased since your tires have poor traction. Broken headlights or taillights, defroster fans, and windshield wipers can all effect how you navigate through winter weather.

Excess Snow

That’s right, snow itself can cause major winter accidents. Snow or ice left on vehicles can fly off and cause serious injuries or damage to yourself or others on the road. In fact, you can be fined you up yo $1,000 in Pennsylvania if ice and snow projecting off of your car injures someone or causes damage.

How to Avoid Winter Accidents

So what can you do to protect yourself and other drivers on the road while traveling during wintertime? Now that you know the causes, here are some winter safety tips to follow to prepare for and avoid deadly winter accidents:

  • Get your car serviced regularly
  • Clear the snow of off your car before heading out on the road
  • Always carry a winter emergency kit in your car (i.e. shovel, ice scraper, gloves, extra blankets)
  • Never head out on a big trip without a full tank of gas
  • Don’t break, speed up or swerve to avoid black ice – instead, keep calm and keep your steering wheel straight
  • Use your fog lights for low visibility conditions
  • Be alert and cautious at all times

Preparing your self and your vehicle for winter is going to decrease your risk of accidents and keep you safe in any weather!

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.


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.


A Closer Look at Drunk Driving in Pennsylvania

Drunk driving is never a good idea, and it rarely has a positive outcome. Drinking alcohol impairs judgment and delays your cognitive abilities, so adding driving to the equation is a recipe for disaster. Not only do you put yourself at risk, you put others at risk as well. Even though it seems like a no brainer to avoid drinking and driving, it continues to happen across the United States every single day.

Let’s Talk Numbers

Over 1.5 million people are arrested every year for DUI’s in the US. Just last year Pennsylvania saw a total of 19,518 DUI arrests. And over the last decade there was a whopping 53, 721 DUI arrests in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city. But sadly, for some people DUI arrests are not a threatening enough consequence to stop people from hopping behind the while again after a night of drinking. What people fail to realize is that deciding to drink and driving can not only land you in jail, but it can also land you and others involved in the hospital or worse – the morgue.  

2016 was said to be one of the worst years ever for drunk driving deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is an average of 30 people dying per day from a DUI-related accident. And unfortunately, about 10% of these fatalities were non-drinking drivers, passengers or innocent bystanders who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported 10,256 drunk driving-related crashes in 2016. Of those, 297 of them were fatal.

The Good News

 Alcohol-related crashes and fatalities in Pennsylvania have been trending downward since 2011. Companies like Lyft and Budweiser have been a part of that change, even teaming up last year to reduce drunk driving by distributing over 80,000 free ride vouchers to Lyft users. To keep the momentum going this year, Budweiser’s new campaign “Give a Damn. Don’t Drive Drunk.” is providing Lyft users with $20 round-trip rides credits to use during weekends and holidays across 10 states, including Pennsylvania.

So, How Can You Help?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a multimillion-dollar company to make a difference. You too can help reduce drunk driving by taking the following precautions:

  • Before drinking, always choose a designated driver, whether it be a non-drinking friend, taxi or calling a rideshare service like Lyft and Uber
  • Don’t let your loved one’s drive after drinking – offer to drive, take their keys away, or help them find a safe ride home
  • If you’re attending a special event somewhere and plan to drink, book a hotel or make arrangements to sleep over
  • Never get in a car with someone who has been drinking
  • Always buckle-up (to protect against drunk drivers on the road)
  • Report drunk drivers on the road if you suspect one

And most importantly, don’t drink and drive! Educate yourself and others on the dangers and consequences of drunk driving. The Pennsylvania State Police even offer free workshops or schools, community organizations, and businesses to raise awareness about drunk driving.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so taking the necessary precautions to avoid drunk driving can avoid jail time, injuries and death.

Pennsylvania Motorcyclist Crash Stats

Last year, there were 192 motorcyclist deaths in the state of Pennsylvania, despite the fact that the number of registered motorcycles actually decreased that year. In fact, there were fewer license motorcycles in 2016 than there were in 2012. Still, the number of those killed on motorcycles has increased each year since.

In 2003, Pennsylvania’s helmet law became effective. This law says that a rider over the age of 21 who has been licensed to operate a motorcycle for two full years (or has completed a rider safety course) is not required to wear a helmet. Still, research clearly shows that helmets save lives. Not only do riders sustain injuries much more often than those in passenger cars, but those without helmets sustain brain, face, and head injuries and are admitted to ICU at a higher rate than those who do not. A study by Liu et al. (2008) reported that helmet use reduced the odds of death by 42% and the odds of head injury by 69%.

Research also shows that motorcyclists have a much higher likelihood of dying in a crash than car occupants. In 2015, 4,976 people died in the U.S. in motorcycle crashes, and 8.3% increase from 2014; 178 of those were in the state of Pennsylvania alone.  That same year, 88,000 motorcyclists were injured. That number rose even higher in 2016.

Of the 3,447 motorcycles involved in crashes last year in the state of Pennsylvania, fatalities involving drivers or passengers of motorcycles were nearly 7% higher than the previous year.

In 2015, speeding was a factor 33% of the time when motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes. Alcohol use was also a problem, with 27% of motorcycle rides having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Drinking drivers also tended to use their helmets less (compared to those who were not drinking and driving their motorcycles).


Liu BC, Ivers R, Norton R, Boufous S, Blows S, Lo SK. Helmets for preventing injury in motorcycle riders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008; doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004333.pub3


Most Dangerous Drivers in Pennsylvania

Drivers Involved in Crashes

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT, 2016), there were 60,265 injuries and 1,188 fatalities due to crashes in the state of Pennsylvania last year. Crashes involved drivers of all ages, but predominately those over the age of 20 and below the age of 65.


Drinking drivers continued to be the most dangerous drivers in Pennsylvania last year. According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association’s 2015 Briefs Report, drinking and driving remains a top safety issue in the state. In fact, alcohol-related deaths represented 29% of all traffic related deaths in 2015, with drivers in the 21 to 25 age group presenting the greatest problem when it came to drinking and driving.


According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, three out of four drinking drivers were male. While those age 21 to 30 had the highest percentage of crashes by age groups, those in the 31 to 35 age group had the highest percentage (47%) of drinking driver deaths.


While Pennsylvania continues to take an aggressive stance when it comes to drinking and driving and seeks to prevent and deter this practice, the fact remains that too many people have died because people have chosen to drink and drive. In 2015:

  • 345 people died in alcohol-related crashes
  • 93% of the alcohol-related occupant deaths (drivers and passengers) were in vehicles driven by drinking drivers
  • 73% of the alcohol-related crashes occurred at night, typically on weekends
  • On average, 29 alcohol-related traffic crashes occurred each day
  • On average, one person died in an alcohol-related traffic crash every day
  • On average, 19 people were injured in alcohol-related traffic crashes every day



Pennsylvania Crash Fatalities

2016 Pennsylvania Crash Statistics

Type of Crash 2016
Intersection Crashes 49,562
Single Vehicle Run-Off-the-Road Crashes 45,868
Hit Fixed Object Crashes 38,244
Local Road (only) Crashes 32,309
Crashes Involving a 65+ Year Old Driver 21,125
Signalized Intersection Crashes 19,853
Distracted Driver Crashes 16,050
Stop Controlled Intersection Crashes 15,200
Unrestrained Crashes (Pass. Cars, Lt Trks, Hvy Trks, Vans, SUVs) 14,992
Crashes Involving a 65-74 Year Old Driver 13,618
Impaired Driver Crashes 12,757
Winter Condition Crashes 10,300
Alcohol-Related Crashes 10,255
Drinking Driver Crashes 10,008
Hit Tree Crashes 8,818
Hit Utility Pole Crashes 8,784
Crashes Involving a 75+ Year Old Driver 8,239
Head-on / Opposite Direction Side Swipe Crashes 7,326
Aggressive Driving Crashes 6,996
Hit Guiderail Crashes 6,863
Heavy Truck Crashes 6,740
Crashes Involving a 16-17 Year Old Driver 6,671
Vehicle Failure Related Crashes (any factor) 5,905
Running Red Light Crashes (any factor) 4,780
Crashes Involving a 17 Year Old Driver 4,752
Speeding Crashes 4,258
Pedestrian Crashes 4,201
Motorcyclist Crashes 3,454
Drowsy/Asleep Driver Crashes 2,635
Work Zone Crashes 2,075
Crashes Involving a 16 Year Old Driver 1,996
Bicyclist Crashes 1,305
Train/Trolley with Motor Vehicle Crashes 52