2011 Marks Traffic Fatality Low

Posted on June 7, 2012 by

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The year of 2011 has set the record with traffic deaths at 32,310–the lowest since 1949, when the total was 30,246. The number of deaths for this year is exactly 445 fewer, and approximately 1.3%  less than the traffic deaths of 2010.

Pennsylvania also experienced a dip in the number of fatalities with 1291 deaths, approximately 2.5% less and 33 fewer than the 1324 deaths in 2010. The number of deaths caused by drinking and driving also fell by approximately 9.1% from 417 deaths in 2010 to 379 in 2011.

However, more grim circumstances surround the number of fatalities involving drivers ages 16- to 17-years-old, with deaths going from 19 in 2010 to 29 in 2011, a 34.4% increase. Otherwise, 2011 has the second lowest number of traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania during a year, coming in right behind 2009, when the number of deaths was 1256. Berks County is not a beneficiary of the trend, with traffic fatalities rising from 39 in 2010 to 46 in 2011, an approximate 15.2% increase.

“It’s mind-blowing that [Berks County has] gotten more reckless in driving,” FAHS junior Krista Witman said.

Of the traffic deaths in Berks County, 16 were caused by drunken driving, 3 were of 16- to 17-year-old drivers, and 2 traffic deaths took place within Fleetwood-Richmond township. Despite the rise since 2010, Berks County traffic fatalities only accounted for roughly 3.5% of all fatalities in Pennsylvania.

This trend comes at a time when the economy and rising gas prices impair the will of many to drive leisurely. The total combined vehicle mileage of Americans in 2010 was approximately 43 billion, about 1.2 percent higher than 2011’s 36 billion. Gas prices might not be the only reason for the drop, though; safer driving or safer cars may have something to do with it as well. Compared to the year 1949, for every 100 million miles driven overall, there were 7.13 traffic deaths.  2011 had 1.09 deaths per 100 million miles driven overall.

“Gas prices are rising, and we have all these new laws about driving that make people better drivers,” junior Joseph Roman said.

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