There are many reasons for the improvement, from less driving under the influence to improving vehicle and highway safety engineering.
PennDOT itself deserves a share of the credit for its consistent investment in greater safety through major and minor projects, ranging from reconstructed intersections to simple signage and roadway improvements.
The degree to which low-cost improvements can make a difference is remarkable. For example, the number of deaths in head-on crashes has declined by 47 percent since 2000 at least partly because PennDOT has installed more than 5,000 miles of center-line rumble strips to help prevent vehicle cross-overs. Likewise, the agency has installed about 206 miles of post-and-cable barriers in medians to stop cross-overs.
Those and other low-cost measures, such as enhanced signage warning of curves and slippery pavement, all add up to greater safety. PennDOT spends about
Drivers, of course, remain the wild card. A texting driver on even the safest road exponentially increases the chances for a crash. And driver and pedestrian distraction by electronic devices is believed to be a principal cause in an increase in pedestrian deaths, to 172 in 2016 from 153 in 2015.
To maintain the safety momentum, the state Legislature should add
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