Transportation
4:29 pm
Fri March 16, 2012

Highway Fatalities Decrease, Setting Record

Last year marked the second-lowest number of highway fatalities since the 1940s. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that there were 33 fewer highway fatalities in 2011 than in 2010.

Erin Waters, PennDOT spokesperson, says that 90 percent of highway crashes are caused by driver behavior, and although the budget is tight, they continue to enforce safe driving procedures.

"Things like having seatbelt laws, and DUI enforcement," Waters said. "A lot of those efforts are coupled with engineering improvements like installing center-line and edge-line rumble strips."

She adds that those small efforts go a long way in altering driver behaviors, and hopes the number of fatalities continues to decrease to zero.

While overall fatalities have decreased, those involving 16 year-olds increased from 19 in 2010 to 29 in 2011. Three of those recorded in 2011 were in Allegheny County.

Steven Cowan, Saftey Press Officer for PennDOT District 11, says that he hopes new legislation, such as the Teen Graduated License Law, may help reduce those numbers.

"Safety is everyone's responsibility," Cowan said. "Please do everything you can to keep yourself and your passengers as safe as possible. Don't drink and drive, and always wear your seatbelt."