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Deadliest Car Accidents in Pennsylvania

We’ve researched over 15 years of data to find Pennsylvania’s deadliest roads. Here’s what we discovered.

If you live in the state of Pennsylvania and are worried about getting into a car accident, you’re not alone. As these car accident statistics reveal, living in a densely populated city like Philadelphia or Pittsburgh greatly increases your chances of experiencing or witnessing fatal car accidents.

To give you some insight into the available data, we’ve mapped out 15 years of Pennsylvania fatal car accident data below.

Legend:

skull and crossbones on red background 10 worst 1-mile stretches of road in each county with the most cumulative deaths for that county

red dotAny fatal car accident from 2004-2019

Fatal car accidents in Pennsylvania

Over the last 15 years, there were 31,342 fatal car accidents in all of Pennsylvania. Broken down by county, we find that Philadelphia County and Allegheny County were the most dangerous areas, with a combined 10,934 fatalities.

The safest counties within the last 15 years were Forest, Sullivan, and Cameron, with 41, 30, and 25 fatalities, respectively.

This points to the fact that densely populated areas like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are more dangerous when it comes to fatal car accidents. The 2 cities total 1704 fatalities over the 15 year period, which amounts to 5% of all fatalities throughout the state of Pennsylvania.

map of Pennsylvania car accident fatalities 2004-2018

chart Pennsylvania car accident fatalities 2004-2018 ranked by most dangerous county

Additional observations

While looking at the data, here are a few things we found that are worth making note of:

  • The majority of fatal accidents occur in heavily populated areas containing multiple intersections. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are good examples of this fact.
  • Speed is the leading cause of fatal car accidents. In 2018, speeding resulted in 32,710 crashes overall, and 397 fatalities.
  • Drinking and driving was the second most common factor associated with fatal car accidents. Drinking and driving was the cause of 8,519 crashes and 150 fatalities in 2018.
  • Distracted driving is another leading cause of fatal car accidents. According to the This Pennsylvania Crash Facts & Statistics Reports we reviewed, distracted driving refers to any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. Examples of distracted driving include, but are not limited to, texting, eating, grooming, talking to passengers, etc.
  • Holidays like Christmas, Halloween, Fourth of July, and Memorial Day can be especially dangerous times for driving. Surprisingly, in 2018, the least dangerous holiday is Christmas, and the most dangerous period is the Thanksgiving holiday period.

Sources:

  • https://data-usdot.opendata.arcgis.com/datasets/fatal-motor-vehicle-accidents?geometry=-79.197%2C39.793%2C-70.062%2C41.254
  • https://www.penndot.gov/TravelInPA/Safety/Pages/Crash-Facts-and-Statistics.aspx