PSP, PennDOT Highlight Traffic Safety as Pennsylvania Continues Phased Reopening
Seat Belt Initiative Underway, Holiday Interstate Lane Restrictions Available on 511PA
Harrisburg, PA – As counties move into the yellow phase of reopening and “Stay at Home Orders” are adjusted, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) remind drivers that traffic safety must be top of mind when behind the wheel.
“While social distancing is still encouraged, when you do travel please drive safely,” said Acting PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We urge all Pennsylvanians to always wear their seat belts, adhere to speed limits, and never drive impaired or distracted.”
The agencies are partnering with municipal police departments and other state and local safety organizations as part of a statewide “Click It or Ticket” seat belt enforcement and education initiative from May 18 through June 14, 2020. The national enforcement effort has been postponed to November 2020 due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Pennsylvania law requires all occupants younger than 18 to wear a seat belt when riding in a vehicle, as well as every driver and front-seat passenger. Children under the age of two must be secured in a rear-facing car seat, and children under the age of four must be restrained in an approved child safety seat. Children must ride in a booster seat until their eighth birthday.
As we move toward Memorial Day, the traditional start of the summer driving period, we encourage Pennsylvanians to “Know Before You Go” by checking the “Holiday Interstate Lane Restrictions” page at www.511PA.com before planning upcoming travel.
The public can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles in Pennsylvania by visiting www.511PA.com. The service, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 950 traffic cameras. Motorists can also see active construction projects at www.511PA.com.
According to state police data, the number of crashes and DUI arrests have fallen dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic that has kept more people at home and off the roads, but officials caution that those rates could creep back up as restrictions are lifted during the summer months.
“Even though we are all traveling less often, we still have the responsibility to do our part to keep Pennsylvania’s roads safe,” said Major Bruce Williams, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. “The first step toward safer roads is a commitment to wearing a seat belt and zero tolerance for impaired or distracted driving.”
Nationally, many states have reported alarming speed increases with the lower traffic volumes during “Stay at Home Orders.” PennDOT and PSP urge drivers to always follow the speed limit and drive safe. Buckle up for every trip, designate a sober driver, and never drive distracted.
PennDOT data shows that total traffic fatalities decreased to 1,059 in 2019, a new record low, from 1,190 in 2018. According to national data, over 90 percent of crashes are caused by driver behavior. For this reason, PennDOT focuses on data trends to drive enforcement and education improvements and invests approximately $18 million annually in federal grant funds statewide to support these behavioral safety programs.