Traffic death rate drops in Mercer County - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Traffic death rate drops in Mercer County

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -

The number of traffic deaths in Mercer County last year was the lowest in nearly two decades.

According to records from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, ten people were killed in accidents on Mercer County highways in 2017.

That number is down from the fifteen fatalities reported in 2016 and is the lowest number of traffic deaths in Mercer County recorded on available PennDOT records which go back to 1998.

The highest number of fatalities recorded in one year in Mercer County since 1998 were 40 deaths in 2000.

Half of last year's Mercer County traffic deaths involved people who were not wearing seatbelts.

Five of the deaths involved impaired or drunk drivers.

Two of the fatalities were in work zones.

Four of the fatal crashes involved drivers 75 years old or older.

Statewide statistics

PennDOT said traffic deaths in the entire state reached a new low in 2017, dropping to 1,137, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1928, and 51 less than 2016.

While the number of highway deaths dropped in many types of crashes, there were significant decreases noted in impaired driver, pedestrian, and unrestrained fatalities.

Fatalities in impaired driver crashes dropped from 341 in 2016 to 246 in 2017.

Unrestrained fatalities also decreased from 408 in 2016 to 378 last year.

There were 150 pedestrian deaths in crashes in 2017 compared to 172 in 2016.

Aside from the year-to-year decline, longer-term trends also continue to decrease.

For example, compared to 2013, there were 71 fewer total traffic deaths, 203 fewer deaths in crashes involving impaired drivers, and 47 fewer unrestrained deaths.

There were some types of crashes which saw fatality increases in 2017. There were 153 fatalities that occurred in crashes involving drivers aged 75 years or older, up from 132 in 2016.

Also, fatalities in red-light running crashes increased to 35 from 28 in 2016. Finally, fatalities in work zone crashes increased from 16 to 19.   

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