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What causes the most dangerous accidents?

Motor vehicle accidents are a serious concern for the state of Pennsylvania, both for the impact on citizens of the state and the economic costs to the commonwealth. Although 2020 showed a slight decrease in fatal traffic accidents, the total estimated costs for accidents were over $25.8 billion.

Traffic accidents range in severity, which affects the cost of the accidents and the serious nature of any resulting injuries.

Auto accidents by vehicles

Passenger cars are the cause of most traffic accidents, with the total number of crashes exceeding the combined total of all other accidents involving different vehicle types. Here is a breakdown of accidents by vehicle type:

  • Passenger cars: 88,763
  • Vans, light trucks and SUVs: 65,715
  • Trucks weighing at least 10,000 pounds: 6, 905
  • Motorcycles: 3,503
  • Buses: 321
  • Other: 2,061

Auto accidents by scenario

In 2020, dry roads accounted for 74.6% of auto accidents and mild weather conditions in 74.2% of these situations. The leading scenarios behind the traffic accidents in 2020 include:

  • Speeding: 25,021 accidents
  • Distracted driving: 11,019 accidents
  • Improper turning: 10,483 crashes
  • Proceeding without clearance: 6,799 accidents
  • Drunk driving: 6,565
  • Passing errors: 4,545 accidents
  • Following too closely: 4,476
  • Drowsy driving: 1,948

The majority of fatalities occur because of alcohol-related crashes, and just under half of these incidents occur on either Saturday or Sunday. Hitting fixed objects accounts for the next highest number of fatalities with traffic accidents.

While failing to use caution when driving under ideal road conditions is the underlying cause of these incidents, a majority of auto accidents in Pennsylvania are the result of driver error. Proper awareness and driving habits help reduce accident potential.