As another year comes to a close, the countdown lists and year-end statistics start coming out. Beyond the most popular songs and highest-grossing movies, some cities also track motor vehicle accidents. This important number can help raise awareness about particularly dangerous places to drive to keep everyone safer.
Philadelphia typically has more motor vehicle accident fatalities than other comparable cities like New York or Boston. Due to this, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia began tracking victims and fatalities from traffic accidents. In 2019, 64 people have died in motor vehicle accidents. This is slightly lower than the numbers from previous years. In 2018, 103 people died after motor vehicle accidents, while 99 people perished in traffic accidents in 2017 and 76 people in 2016. The Bicycle Coalition also tracks fatalities that occurred on Roosevelt Boulevard separately, given how busy this main thoroughfare gets. 10% of the traffic fatalities this year happened on that artery road.
On average, Philadelphia sees six traffic deaths per 100,000 people – much higher than the average of three deaths in New York and two in Boston.
So, why is Philadelphia a deadlier place to drive? Experts point to a perfect storm of common causes of traffic accidents, including:
- Distracted driving (texting, using GPS, eating)
- Lack of appropriate bicycle lanes or pedestrian walkways
Indeed, the majority of fatalities, unfortunately, involve pedestrians. Though ultimately it is a driver’s responsibility to drive safely and avoid pedestrians, Philadelphia is one city where jaywalking can have tragic consequences.
Advocates hope to change city policy so that traffic accidents are no longer just an inevitable part of Pennsylvania life. Plans include aggressive education campaigns to teach Philadelphia residents about defensive driving and infrastructure repairs to improve road conditions. They wish to reduce the chances of getting injured in a traffic accident or, even worse, losing a loved one in a motor vehicle accident.