According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation data, we were able to discern that Philadelphia has the highest number of fatal driving accidents in the state as well as the highest number of deadly roads compared to other counties. Speed-related errors accounted for the most driving accidents and driver deaths in PA. Broad Street is one of the deadliest roads in PA with 14 driver fatalities in 2020.
In 2020, an average of 286 reportable vehicle crashes occurred every day in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or 12 crashes per hour. On average, three people a day were fatally injured in traffic crashes, translating to one motor vehicle-related fatality every eight hours. Of the reported vehicle crashes, an average of 168 people were injured every day, or about seven injuries per hour.
Allegheny County reported 12,225 total crashes in 2019 and 9,818 in 2020; Philadelphia reported 11,120 in 2019 and 10,108 in 2020; Montgomery County reported 9,113 in 2019 and 6,944 in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic effectively forced people indoors in 2020, and is likely the cause for a reduction in accidents year-over-year.
Philadelphia County had the most reported vehicle crashes in PA (9.7%), with Allegheny County coming in second (9.4%), and Montgomery County third (6.6%).
Philadelphia County is a distant frontrunner in terms of traffic-related fatalities, making up for 14.7% of Pennsylvania traffic deaths. In comparison, Allegheny County accounted for only 5.3% traffic deaths with Bucks County third with 4.6% of PA accident-related fatalities.
Pennsylvania’s Most Dangerous Roads
Of the four road types in Pennsylvania–turnpike, local roads, state highways, and state highway (other)–state highway (other) reported the most crashes with 66,225 incidents and 40,631 persons injured over a reported 39,169 miles of roadway. (The “state highway (other)” category includes state-maintained roads not designated as interstates.)
- Local roads were a distant second, hosting 26,596 crashes and 14,565 injuries over a reported 80,430 miles of roadway.
- State highways were third on the list, hosting 9,661 car crash incidents and 5,200 injuries over a reported 1,375 miles of roadway.
- With the least amount of maintained miles of road, the Turnpike only accounted for 1,978 crashes and 847 persons injured in 2020.
State highways (other) accounted for the most fatalities in 2020 with 812 deaths; local roads reported 209 deaths; state highways reported 92 deaths; the Turnpike reported 92 fatalities.
Using this same 2020 car crash and accident-related fatality data, we were able to discern the seven most dangerous roads in Pennsylvania.
7 Most Dangerous Roads in Pennsylvania
Lincoln Highway reported the most car crashes in 2020, with 1,762 accidents total.
Of the 1,292 crashes reported on the Delaware Expressway in 2020, 1,042 occurred in Philadelphia, resulting in 394 injuries and five deaths.
American Legion Memorial Highway
American Legion Memorial Highway reported 1,208 car accidents in 2020.
Of the 1,080 crashes that occurred on the Schuylkill Expressway in 2020, 568 were located in Philadelphia, resulting in 245 injuries and one death.
William Penn Highway
In 2020, William Penn Highway reported 838 car accidents.
Broad Street reported 771 accidents, 443 injuries, and 14 deaths, making it one of the deadliest roads in Pennsylvania.
Of the 447 crashes on Roosevelt Boulevard in 2020, 441 of them occurred in Philadelphia, resulting in 263 injuries and 7 deaths.
Common Causes of These Accidents
The large majority of car accidents in PA were due to driver error, but the cause of those driving errors vary.
At the top of the list are speed-related errors, totaling 25,021 with 415 fatal incidents. Distracted driving came in second, totaling 11,019 vehicle crashes with 43 fatal incidents. Improper turning was third, totaling 10,483 crashes of which 75 were fatal.
Drinking and driving was the second most common cause of fatal incidents with 131 deaths , but it was the fifth most common cause of non-fatal vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania, resulting in 6,565 crashes. Proceeding without clearance had slightly more accidents than drunk driving with 6,799, but only 39 fatal incidents were caused by the error.
Drowsy driving was at the bottom of the list for both crashes and fatalities with 1,948 accidents and 11 deaths as a result of. Only tailgating had less fatalities (five) although it clocked in many more accidents with 4,476 reported.
Data suggests that vehicle accidents and driver fatalities decreased year-over-year from 2019 to 2020 due to the pandemic’s effects on traffic. Curfews, quarantine, and self-imposed isolation all likely contributed to less drivers being on the road and less accidents being accounted for in the state of Pennsylvania.