Philadelphia is one of the largest, busiest cities in the United States. In fact, it’s the sixth-most populated city in the country. Every day, its population swells as workers and students commute into the city limits. As a result, it’s really no surprise that car accidents are fairly common in Philly.
How common are traffic accidents in Philadelphia, though? What factors are causing these accidents to happen with such frequency? What can be done to reduce the number of traffic accidents in Philadelphia? Here’s what you need to know.
Philadelphia Car Accidents By the Numbers
Despite the fact that Philadelphia boasts one of the lowest rates of car ownership in the country, there are a staggering number of traffic accidents in the city every year. Despite efforts to improve Philadelphia road safety, the number of crashes hasn’t waivered. In fact, the total number of accidents in Philadelphia County has gone up, not down.
According to crash data reported by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 10,688 car accidents in Philadelphia County in 2009. One decade later, not much had changed. In 2018, 11,003 car accidents occurred Philadelphia County.
During this period of time, the number of accidents fluctuated. The safest year during this period was 2014, when there were only 10,627 traffic collisions in Philadelphia. The most dangerous year in the last decade was 2016. According to PennDOT, Philadelphia County saw 12,190 car accidents that year.
How Serious Are Car Accidents in Philadelphia?
So, to put it in perspective, there are an average of 30 car accidents in Philadelphia every day. That works out to be more than one crash every single hour of every day in the year. Accidents are common, but how dangerous are they?
In 2018, there were 11,0003 auto accidents in Philadelphia. That accounted for more than 12 percent of all of the accidents in the entire state of Pennsylvania. Many of these accidents resulted in injury or death:
- 13.4 percent of crashes resulted in an injury, and
- 9.1 percent of crashes were fatal.
Less than 5 percent of all Philadelphia car accidents resulted in property damage only.
Who Is Involved in Philadelphia Car Accidents?
Drivers of cars and SUVs aren’t the only ones on the road. Cars have to share Philadelphia streets with motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Studies show that these commuters are at a greater risk of injury or death than vehicle drivers and passengers.
In fact, “a higher proportion of traffic deaths are happening ‘outside the vehicle,’ a category that includes motorcyclists and their passengers as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.” Twenty years ago, “outside the vehicle” deaths accounted for 20 percent of all traffic fatalities. Today, “outside the vehicle” deaths account for more than one-third of all traffic accident fatalities.
So, what about in Pennsylvania? How often are non-motorists involved in car accidents? According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 11,003 reported traffic accidents in Philadelphia. 7,599 people were injured, and 100 were killed.
Here’s how bicyclists and pedestrians were impacted:
- Bicyclists: 428 bicyclists were hit by cars in Philadelphia in 2018. 3 cyclists were killed in these car crashes.
- Pedestrians: 1,638 pedestrians were struck by cars in Philadelphia in 2018. 39 pedestrians were killed in these accidents.
Altogether, “outside the vehicle” victims accounted for 27 percent of all car accident injury victims and 42 percent of all car accident fatalities.
What’s Causing Car Accidents in Philadelphia?
As we’ve seen, car accidents are quite common in Philadelphia, PA. What’s causing these accidents to happen so frequently? According to city officials, speeding and reckless driving behaviors account for more than half of all fatal car accidents in the city of Philadelphia. However, aggressive driving isn’t the only reason accidents happen. According to state crash data for 2015, other leading causes of Philadelphia County crashes, injuries, and deaths include:
- Failure to wear a seatbelt (1,422 accidents)
- Hitting a fixed object (1,412 accidents)
- Distracted driving (629 accidents), and
- Drunk driving (582 accidents).
These aren’t the only factors that contribute to Philadelphia car accidents. Dangerous weather or traffic conditions, hazardous road conditions, driver error, and defective vehicles also contribute to collisions every year.
Working to Reduce Traffic Accidents in Philadelphia
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Philadelphia County has the most number of traffic deaths per capita in the United States. This meant that when crash data and population are compared, Philadelphia County roads are more dangerous than those in bigger cities like New York and Los Angeles.
That’s a problem. It’s a problem that Philadelphia lawmakers have vowed to fix.
In 2017, Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia, announced the city’s new “Vision Zero” initiative. The goal is to eliminate fatal crashes by the year 2030 through a process that involves:
- Equity (identify equitable solutions)
- Evaluation (prioritize investments and ensure resources are used effectively)
- Engineering (redesign streets and adopt safe infrastructure measures)
- Education (promote a culture of safe driving, biking, and walking), and
- Enforcement (enforce laws to save lives)
Specifically, the city has pledged to:
- Save lives by reducing the number of severe traffic accidents in Philly
- Improve the overall performance of the street system
- Prioritize the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, who are most vulnerable, and
- Promote active transportation to reduce the risk of chronic disease, reduce congestion, improve air quality, and improve health.
How does the city plan to do this? The city took a look at Philadelphia crash data and identified why, when, where, and how accidents were happening. As it turns out, half of all severe injuries and traffic deaths occur on “just 12 percent of Philadelphia streets.” These streets, known as the “High Injury Network” are the first to be targeted under the Vision Zero program.
Traffic accidents will still continue to be problematic, however, if drivers don’t take matters into their own hands. Safer roads, reduced speed limits, and new traffic laws will only go so far. Driving accidents will still happen. Drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians in Philadelphia will have to make a concerted effort to practice safe commuting habits. Only then will Philadelphia see a drop in car accidents on its city streets.
Call Our Philadelphia Car Accident Attorneys If You’ve Been Injured
Have you or someone you love been injured in a car accident in Philadelphia? If someone else is at least partly responsible, you may be entitled to compensation from them. Contact an experienced lawyer at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC to learn more about your legal rights and options. If you decide to file an injury claim or lawsuit, we’ll fight to get you the money you need and deserve.
You’ll only have a limited amount of time to act, so it’s important to reach out to our personal injury law firm for help as soon as you can. We offer a free consultation, so call to schedule yours today.