US DOT wants zero traffic deaths in 30 years


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Nationally, 98 people die in traffic accidents every day.  Last year, there were more than 35,000 traffic fatalities nationwide, the highest increase in nearly 50 years.

PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick says the number of traffic fatalities is lower in Pennsylvania.

“We’ve had some success in Pennsylvania. In 2015, the last year for which we have figures, our total number of traffic fatalities dropped to 1,200, which is the second-lowest since record keeping began in 1928.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Safety Council launched the Road to Zero coalition on Wednesday. The goal is to drop the number of traffic fatalities to zero within 30 years. The U.S. Transportation Department is committing $1 million a year for three years as part of the effort.

Pennsylvania has been working with the federal government for the past several years to lower the number of traffic deaths. It’s being done through road improvements and education.

Kirkpatrick says PennDOT constantly reminds people to keep distractions to a minimum, always wear seat belts, not to drive impaired, and to obey speed limits.

Another way to lower the number of traffic deaths may be autonomous cars.

“It’s been shown that 94 percent of all traffic crashes involved human error, driving error, people being distracted, doing something they shouldn’t do, so there’s potential – and it’s quite a ways off yet – that autonomous vehicles can perhaps lessen the number of fatalities,” Kirkpatrick said.

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