Pennsylvania Auto Insurance [Comparison & Companies]
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UPDATED: Nov 4, 2020
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|Pennsylvania Statistics Summary||Details|
|Road Miles in Pennsylvania||Total in State: 120,091
Vehicle Miles Driven: 100,945 million
|Vehicles||Registered Vehicles: 10,205,304
Total Stolen: 12,134
|Most Popular Vehicle in Pennsylvania||Honda CR-V|
|Total Driving Fatalities||2008–2017
|Annual Premiums||Liability: $495.02
|Cheapest Providers||USAA and Geico|
Roads are a big part of life in Pennsylvania. And because drivers need to carry car insurance, you must buy coverage. But it’s not always easy to find the information you need. Wouldn’t it be great if it was all available in one place?
This guide attempts to do just that. We’ll compare insurers in Pennsylvania, analyze rates, provide facts about state laws, and all else connected to car insurance.
If you’re ready to read more, let’s get started. And if you want to compare rates now, enter your ZIP code in our free tool.
Pennsylvania Car Insurance Coverage and Rates
Each state has its own requirements for minimum levels of car insurance coverage, and Pennsylvania is no different. Sorting through the information about the insurance you should buy versus what you need makes shopping around confusing.
To help you stay on the right track, in this section, we’ll go over the coverage levels available and what you should buy in the State of Independence.
To find out more about the perfect coverage for your needs, let’s get started.
What is Pennsylvania’s car culture?
The Keystone State has a long-running love for cars and racing of all types. The many racecourses available there include everything from dirt tracks to go-kart and NASCAR-level ovals.
Pennsylvanians’ deep appreciation for vehicles extends to historic displays that include the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum in Hershey and the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, with one of the world’s greatest collections of race cars.
Pennsylvanians prefer practical cars: SUVs, minivans, or sedans. When drivers’ love of racing and cars combine, they can speed at least 10 miles over the limit, which is a common cause of crashes. That’s all the more reason to slow down and drive safely, and as we’ll outline below, buy enough coverage to protect you and others in case of an accident.
How much coverage is required for Pennsylvania minimum coverage?
Pennsylvania follows a doctrine of “choice no-fault,” which lets drivers decide whether to carry limited tort or full tort coverage.
With the less expensive option, limited tort, under no-fault insurance, you can seek recovery for all medical and other out-of-pocket losses from an accident. It means that each driver involved in a crash — regardless of who caused it — must file a claim with their own insurer to pay for damages.
The law, however, restricts your right to sue others for pain and suffering or other non-monetary losses unless your injuries qualify as serious. Recent Pennsylvania court decisions show that a serious injury often requires critical impairment of a bodily function or permanent and severe disfigurement.
Under full tort (or at-fault) coverage, you can sue another driver — without limits — for medical expenses and lost wages from a car accident. It provides you with the most protection.
All Pennsylvania drivers must carry car insurance. State minimum car insurance requirements are:
|Pennsylvania Required Coverage||Minimum Coverage Amount||Purpose|
|Bodily injury liability||$15,000 per person|
$30,000 per accident
|For when you cause an accident and injure someone else|
|Property damage liability||$5,000 per accident||For when you cause an accident and damage someone else's property|
|Medical benefits coverage||$5,000 per accident||Pays medical bills of anyone under the policy after an accident (regardless of who caused the accident)|
Liability insurance pays everyone owed money for property damage and/or injuries from a car accident you or anyone under your policy has caused — drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Given the low levels of required coverage, if the cost of damages in an accident exceeds those limits, you could be stuck paying the difference.
As noted Pennsylvanian Benjamin Franklin once wrote about fire safety (but the advice can apply to car insurance, too), “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The more coverage you buy, the better your chances of protecting yourself from expensive losses.
The law firm video below explains the state minimum coverage requirements:
What are forms of financial responsibility in Pennsylvania?
Liability insurance, self-insurance, or other reliable monetary arrangements filed with PennDOT are all forms of financial responsibility. If a law enforcement officer pulls you over, you can show proof of insurance or financial responsibility in one of the following ways:
- An insurance identification card
- A copy of an insurance declaration page listing the claim holder and insured cars and drivers
- An insurance binder a licensed broker has signed
- A copy of an application for the Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan
- A signed letter from the insurance provider on company letterhead
PennDOT lets drivers apply to insure themselves rather than go through an insurance company. To do this, the group or individual must get approval from PennDOT.
Requirements for a self-insurance proposal include:
- A self-insurance application
- A self-insurance security agreement
- An income statement and completed balance sheet that shows the person’s or group’s financial status as of the previous year
- A minimum of $50,000 collateral for one vehicle, and $10,000 for each additional car in the form of U.S. currency, U.S. Treasury bills or notes, loans, escrow deposits, or bonds
Below, we’ll explore how much the average Pennsylvanian spends on car insurance to help you plan how much coverage to buy.
How much percentage of income are premiums in Pennsylvania?
Just how much does the average person pay for full coverage in Pennsylvania? Let’s look at the numbers below.
|Insurance as percentage of income||2.23%||2.28%||2.24%|
As shown, the cost of car insurance increased steadily from 2012 to 2014, as did average annual earnings, while the percentage residents paid for coverage out of their disposable or after-tax incomes remained steady.
How did these numbers compare to the U.S. averages during those three years? Below are the national median percentages of income spent on premiums and Americans’ yearly earnings:
|National Income and Percentages||2012||2013||2014|
|Insurance as percentage of income||2.34%||2.43%||2.40%|
Across the country, drivers earned less than Pennsylvanians and paid more of their incomes toward coverage.
Compared to neighboring states Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, only Maryland residents paid about the same amount of their wages to car insurance as Pennsylvanians. Residents in the other three states spent closer to 3 percent of their earnings on car insurance premiums, which were near the national average.
How much of your income goes toward car insurance? Find out with our free calculator below.
What are the core coverages in Pennsylvania?
Now that we’ve looked at the state insurance requirements and the average amounts residents pay, we’ll look at the cost of core coverage, courtesy of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). It’s based on the state minimum requirements. The amounts you pay may be higher or lower than those shown.
|Coverage Type||Average Annual Costs|
Nationally, the insurance rates were about $20 to $30 higher than those in the Keystone State. You can expect car insurance rates in Pennsylvania to be significantly higher for 2020 and on.
As we mentioned before, liability insurance pays everyone owed money for property damage and injuries from a car accident that you or anyone under your policy has caused. Though Pennsylvania requires liability coverage, you can also buy collision and comprehensive insurance as part of a full premium.
Collision coverage pays for damages if your car hits something (for example, a mailbox or another vehicle). Comprehensive will pay for damage from acts of god such as theft, vandalism, fire, or natural disasters (hail, floods).
You’ll get the most protection when you buy full coverage, which combines all three types under one policy. And, as we’ll detail further below, it may be more affordable than you think.
For even more coverage, next, we’ll go into additional liability options.
What additional liability is available in Pennsylvania?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, medical payments (or MedPay), and personal injury protection (PIP) are among the other auto insurance options available in Pennsylvania.
State law requires drivers to carry a minimum of $5,000 of medical or first-party benefits coverage. However, they don’t have to buy PIP or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. As you’ll see below, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy them.
Medical payments will cover your medical expenses up to the limits of your policy regardless of who caused an accident. Personal injury protection (PIP) pays for a range of benefits, including medical bills, lost wages, and funeral expenses. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage covers losses you incur from an accident with a driver who has little or no car insurance.
Nationally, in 2015, Pennsylvania ranked 43rd for uninsured or underinsured drivers.
A loss ratio measures a company’s ability to pay premiums. For example, a loss ratio of 60 percent indicates an insurer paid $60 on claims out of every $100 it earned in premiums. Let’s look at the ratios for additional liability coverage below.
|Additional Liability Coverage in Pennsylvania||Loss Ratio – 2013||Loss Ratio – 2014||Loss Ratio – 2015|
|Personal injury protection (PIP)||73.89%||71.08%||71.28%|
|Medical payments (MedPay)||252.44%||37.16%||9.24%|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage||65.97%||66.61%||63.50%|
Sometimes, insurers pay too many or too few claims for additional liability. A loss ratio under 40 percent is probably too low, while a loss ratio of over 75 percent is too high.
Based on that criteria, as shown above, in 2013, the MedPay loss ratio in Pennsylvania was excessive, at over 250 percent. In the following two years, it sank below 40 percent, probably as a reaction to the prior high claim payouts.
If a company’s loss ratio tanks, it shows that it doesn’t cover a lot of claims. On the other hand, if a loss ratio soars, the carrier doesn’t earn enough money to cover the claims it processes; it might seek to increase rates soon to adjust for losses.
Unless a loss ratio has been high for several years in a row, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an insurance company will face bankruptcy.
What add-ons, endorsements, and riders are available in Pennsylvania?
Below is more coverage you can add to a basic car insurance plan for more protection tailored to your needs.
- Guaranteed auto protection (GAP)
- Personal umbrella policy (PUP)
- Rental reimbursement
- Pay-as-you drive or usage-based insurance
- Emergency roadside assistance
- Mechanical breakdown insurance
- Non-owner car insurance
- Modified car insurance coverage
- Classic car insurance
These options help you customize the perfect coverage just for you.
Usage-based insurance is available through companies such as MetroMile, Esurance, and Travelers (IntelliDrive). These programs require the use of a telematics device that plugs into the car’s diagnostic port to track mileage and driving habits. MetroMile monitors mileage only. Other applications, such as IntelliDrive, observe hard braking, speed, and turns.
Do gender and age affect my car insurance in Pennsylvania?
We’ve partnered with Quadrant Data to bring you the information below. It’s based on coverage residents have bought and includes rates for high-risk drivers and those who choose to buy more than the state minimum limits. That covers other types of insurance the state doesn’t require.
In some states, the practice of basing car insurance rates on gender is legal. Pennsylvania has banned this form of bias and will start offering gender-neutral options on driver’s licenses in 2020.
Here’s how car insurance rates vary among different ages, genders, and marital statuses in the Keystone State:
|Company||Married 35-Year-Old Female||Married 60-Year-Old Male||Married 60-Year-Old Female||Married 35-Year-Old Male||Single 25-Year-Old Female||Single 25-Year-Old Male||Single 17-Year-Old Female||Single 17-Year-Old Male|
Overall, USAA and State Farm offered the lowest prices. Insurers tend to charge the least experienced drivers (male and female 17-year-olds, who are at a higher risk for accidents) the highest rates.
What are the cheapest rates by ZIP code in Pennsylvania?
Even in the same city, car insurance rates can rise and fall. One neighborhood may have high crime rates, while another could have had several car accidents or lots of damage from natural disasters.
Which Pennsylvania city or town has the cheapest rates by ZIP code?
|ZIP Code||Average||Allstate||Geico||First Liberty||Nationwide||Progressive||State Farm||Travelers||USAA|
And which city or town has the most expensive rates by ZIP code?
|ZIP Code||Average||Allstate||Geico||First Liberty||Nationwide||Progressive||State Farm||Travelers||USAA|
Bellefonte area residents (16823) have the distinction of paying the lowest auto insurance premiums in Pennsylvania.
This Consumer Reports investigation found that some car insurers charge drivers who live in minority neighborhoods higher rates:
What are the cheapest rates by city in Pennsylvania?
Here’s how car insurance prices compare by city name. Generally speaking, drivers in small Pennsylvania towns pay less for car insurance than their big-city cousins.
|City||Average Grand Total|
|Big Cove Tannery||$3,740.04|
|Bird In Hand||$3,649.91|
|Blue Ridge Summit||$3,570.26|
|Buck Hill Falls||$4,900.85|
|Columbia Cross Roads||$3,868.45|
|Delaware Water Gap||$4,725.08|
|Glen Riddle Lima||$5,267.87|
|King Of Prussia||$4,720.76|
|Mount Holly Springs||$3,237.78|
|Mount Pleasant Mills||$3,334.88|
|Pocono Lake Preserve||$4,762.10|
|Shawnee on Delaware||$4,811.65|
|Six Mile Run||$3,793.81|
|Upper Black Eddy||$4,228.58|
|York New Salem||$3,642.98|
Citizens of Philadelphia pay the highest car insurance rates in the Keystone State.
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Best State Car Insurance Companies
Which companies among the many out there are the best? You may look at reviews and ratings to get the answer, but it’s not always easy to find the information you need quickly.
The good news is, we’ve collected everything you need to know right here. You’ll see financial rankings, customer complaint ratios, survey results, and so much more. Let’s dive right in to look at these and other factors to help you decide on the right insurer for you.
What are the financial ratings of the largest car insurance companies in Pennsylvania?
A.M. Best ranks insurance companies based on their financial stability. A good score means a company is likely to stay solvent and can pay customers’ claims. These are their rankings for the top insurers in Pennsylvania.
|Company||A.M. Best Rating||Direct Premiums Written||Loss Ratio||Market Share|
USAA, Geico, and Travelers achieved the highest ranking of A++. They have low market shares in the Keystone State and don’t write the highest amount of premiums. Their loss ratios are also neither too high nor too low.
Which car insurance companies have the best ratings in Pennsylvania?
In J.D. Power’s Auto Insurance Study, the company surveyed thousands of customers. The results below reveal their satisfaction levels.
|CSAA Insurance Group||817||two|
|NJM Insurance Co.||861||five|
|Plymouth Rock Assurance||826||two|
Erie Insurance was the only company to receive five power circles, which means that it’s among the best. USAA and NJM Insurance Co. also made the grade. Still, J.D. Power didn’t include them because USAA serves only military personnel, and NJM provides insurance only to certain customers in New Jersey.
Which car insurance companies have the most complaints in Pennsylvania?
On the opposite end of the scale from satisfaction surveys are complaints. Below is NAIC data on companies’ complaint ratios.
|Company||2017 Complaint Ratio||2017 Number of Complaints|
A complaint ratio reflects the number of complaints a company receives. It’s also tied to an insurer’s market share or the number of customers it serves in a certain geographic area. A ratio of one is average.
Though State Farm had the most complaints, its ratio was less than one. It serves more customers than many of its competitors, but not everyone has a grievance. Even if several do, they don’t affect its overall ratio. On the flip side, a company with half the market share of State Farm, Liberty Mutual, received fewer complaints, yet its ratio was six times higher than the average.
If you’re unhappy with an insurer in Pennsylvania, you can file a complaint.
What are the cheapest car insurance companies in Pennsylvania?
If you shop by price, this is the section for you. Here are rates for the top insurers in the state.
|Company||Average||Compared to State Average (+/-)||Compared to State Average (%)|
Bargain shoppers will appreciate the price breaks Geico, USAA, and State Farm offer.
Does my commute affect my car insurance in Pennsylvania?
Putting a lot of miles on your car can increase the chance that you’ll pay higher insurance premiums. Here’s how rates vary for 10- versus 25-mile commutes in Pennsylvania.
6,000 Annual Miles
12,000 Annual Miles
Travelers, Progressive, and Nationwide don’t base their prices on mileage. Among the insurers who do, Allstate and USAA had the lowest price differences between the two mileages, at about $100.
Can coverage level change my car insurance rate with companies in Pennsylvania?
The level of coverage you buy also affects how much you pay. The rates below range from the lowest coverage, liability, to the highest, full coverage.
|Company||Low Coverage||Medium Coverage||High Coverage|
Among these top insurers, the price difference from the lowest to the highest coverage varies as little as less than $100 with Nationwide to as much as $750 with Progressive. This goes to show that if you shop around, full coverage can fit into your budget.
How does my credit history affect my car insurance rate in Pennsylvania?
As in other aspects of your financial life, such as qualifying for a mortgage or for renting an apartment, your credit score can influence your car insurance payments. Insurers examine your credit score to set your auto insurance rates.
Experian reports that the average credit score in Pennsylvania is 687, which is higher than the national average of 675.
Here are rates for poor, fair, and good credit scores in the Keystone State.
Even with USAA, the niche insurer for the military, poor credit can cost you $800 more in auto insurance than good credit. With other top insurers, that amount can vary from $1,000 to $2,000 or more.
How does my driving record change my rates with car insurance companies in Pennsylvania?
As you might have guessed, your driving record also factors into your car insurance rates. If you drive safely and obey the rules, chances are you have a good driving history. These are rates for common driving penalties in Pennsylvania.
|Company||Clean Record||With One Speeding Violation||With One Accident||With One DUI|
Some insurers such as Allstate don’t change their rates for even the most serious offense of a DUI. But with others, for the same offense, you can end up paying hundreds, if not thousands of dollars more.
Which car insurance companies are the largest in Pennsylvania?
Below are company rates based on their market share or customer base in the Keystone State.
|Company||Direct Premiums Written||Loss Ratio||Market Share|
State Farm has the biggest market share, but none of the companies listed has a majority of the customers. Regardless, they have made it to the top with stable loss ratios compared to the number of premiums they’ve written.
How many car insurance companies are available in Pennsylvania?
We’ve looked at the biggest companies in Pennsylvania. However, many smaller ones operate within the state.
Among the insurers, 166 of them are domestic or headquartered in Pennsylvania. Nearly 1,000 — 929, to be exact — are foreign, meaning that they were founded out of state. These totals may include not only property/casualty insurers but also charter groups and self-insurance companies.
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Not everyone knows all of the driving and car insurance laws in their state. What’s worse, laws vary from state to state, and if you’re not up to speed on them, you may break some without realizing it.
We want to help you remain a law-abiding citizen. So we’ll go over the major car insurance and driving safety laws in the Keystone State.
This information will not only add to your understanding of how to get lower rates, but it will also help you stay safe on the road.
What are the car insurance laws in Pennsylvania?
Because drivers in Pennsylvania must carry car insurance, it helps to know the laws behind that coverage. In this section, we’ll go over the most crucial parts of the regulations you should be aware of, which include everything from how they’re formed to windshield coverage and fraud policies.
How State Laws for Insurance Are Determined
State insurance commissioners administer laws and regulations, and they have considerable influence on car insurance. Each state determines the type of tort law and threshold that applies, the kind and amount of liability insurance required, and how they approve insurer rates and forms.
Insurance companies in Pennsylvania are subject to the regulations the state insurance commissioner sets, which must meet the fair competition standards of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
As part of the process of regulating insurance rates, insurers must get prior approval from the state insurance department before they use insurance rates and forms.
According to Carwindshields.Info, Pennsylvania law lets consumers choose the repair vendor for windshield replacement. Mechanics can replace windshields with aftermarket parts or used glass, which could affect the quality of the repair, so it may be best to shop around.
Also, auto insurance policies for Pennsylvania drivers provide a high deductible for glass replacement or don’t offer coverage. Generally, a comprehensive insurance policy includes benefits for repair work or a full vehicle replacement if someone steals your car or if collisions, fire, and other incidents damage your vehicle. This type of insurance often has full glass replacement benefits, but not all comprehensive policies do.
With a zero-deductible full glass coverage policy option, your insurance company pays for the cost of the repair or replacement up to the limits, and you won’t need to pay a deductible. However, if the coverage limit is less than the replacement cost, you’ll have to fund the difference.
Pennsylvania doesn’t legally require auto insurance companies to offer zero-deductible car insurance, so you’ll need to check to see if you have it.
If you have a deductible for full glass coverage, you should compare your amount with the glass repair or replacement quotes you receive. You also should analyze your coverage limits. In doing so, you can decide if it’s worth filing a claim.
If you have several tickets, accidents, or DUI convictions on your driving record, insurance companies may see you as a high risk for coverage.
So if you struggle to get insured in the traditional marketplace and have been denied coverage for a minimum of 60 days, you may be able to get insurance through the Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan (ARP). This organization will assign your policy to a carrier. It may cost more than standard coverage.
The Keystone State doesn’t require the filing of an SR-22 or certificate of financial responsibility for high-risk policies. However, you may need to do so to meet other states’ guidelines.
Though Pennsylvania has a program to help high-risk drivers, it doesn’t have one for low-income drivers.
California, Hawaii, and New Jersey are the only states with government-funded programs to help low-income drivers pay for their car insurance.
Automobile Insurance Fraud in Pennsylvania
According to an Insurance Research Council (IRC) study, in 2012, fraud accounted for 15–17 percent of total claims payments for auto insurance bodily injury.
In Pennsylvania, someone is guilty of insurance fraud if they intend to defraud an agency, insurer, or self-insured person. Offenders face prison time‚ fines‚ legal fees, and more. Insurance fraud can take many forms, including the following:
- Planning to file a false claim
- Exaggerating damage in a claim
- Faking an accident
- Altering photos to show damage that wasn’t there
Insurance companies can also commit fraud by reporting that they paid more money for a claim than they did. To combat fraud, insurance companies raise premium rates dramatically and pass them on to consumers.
If you suspect insurance fraud or have been a victim, contact the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General to file a report online or call (717) 787-0272.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the time you have left to file and resolve an insurance claim or bring a lawsuit. In Pennsylvania, drivers have two years to file a personal injury or a property damage insurance claim or lawsuit.
It’s easy to lose track of time. And the closer you get to the deadline, the harder it may become to collect crucial evidence for your case. If you miss the filing deadline, you could lose the chance to seek payment for your losses.
Yielding to Blind Pedestrians
Among the lesser-known Pennsylvania laws is one that requires drivers to yield to the right of way to any totally or partially blind pedestrian who carries a white cane or who has a guide dog. Drivers must take any necessary precautions to avoid injuring or endangering them.
This law reminds drivers to stay aware of what’s going on around them and be careful in unusual situations. So if you see a pedestrian with a guide dog or a white cane, slow down or stop if they approach an intersection or another right of way.
What are the vehicle licensing laws in Pennsylvania?
When it comes to getting or renewing a driver’s license in Pennsylvania, you must meet certain requirements. Below, we’ll go over these and other procedures, including how to get a REAL ID and how new residents can apply for a license.
If you want to board a domestic commercial flight or enter any type of federal building, including military installations, you’ll need to get a REAL ID before October 1, 2020. Otherwise, the card is optional.
Though a passport is an acceptable form of REAL ID, some prefer the convenience of a driver’s license.
If you received your first Pennsylvania driver’s license, learner’s permit, or photo ID card after September 1, 2003, PennDOT might already have your REAL ID documentation on file. You can check through their online pre-verification application process. But if you got those forms of ID earlier, you can still pre-verify in person at your local PennDOT licensing center and bring original or certified copies of the following documents:
- Birth certificate or valid U.S. passport
- Social Security card
- Two proofs of current Pennsylvania address (vehicle registration, car insurance card, utility bill)
- Proof of any legal name changes (marriage certificate, court order, divorce decree)
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
Drivers in Pennsylvania must have valid car insurance to operate a motor vehicle legally. As we mentioned above, they must also provide proof of insurance or financial responsibility. If law enforcement catches a driver for a lapse in insurance coverage, the following penalties may apply:
|First offense||Minimum $300 fine for driving without insurance
License and registration suspension – three months (unless the lapse was for less than 31 days and the vehicle wasn't operated during that time)
Restoration fee – $94 each plus proof of insurance for restoration
Civil penalty fee – $500; optional in lieu of registration suspension
You may face more charges. Insurers can also increase their rates for drivers who didn’t have coverage.
An insurance lapse can be discovered through any of the following means:
- If a law enforcement officer stops you for a traffic violation or you’re involved in a reportable crash, they’ll ask for your insurance ID card. If you can’t show valid proof of insurance, they’ll cite you for the offense and, if they convict you, PennDOT will suspend your vehicle registration and driver’s license for three months each.
- In some cases, insurance information listed on vehicle registration renewal applications is verified with the indicated insurance company. If your insurance company doesn’t confirm coverage, you’ll receive a letter requesting your proof of insurance.
- All insurance companies must notify PennDOT when an insurance policy is canceled or terminated. PennDOT mails the vehicle owner a letter requesting new insurance information. If they don’t provide evidence of insurance, PennDOT suspends the owner’s vehicle registration for three months.
- Vehicle inspection stations require all vehicle owners to show proof of insurance before a vehicle inspection. If an owner fails to show proof of insurance, the inspection official, besides denying a certificate of inspection, may notify PennDOT. They’ll ask for your insurance information.
As you can see, it’s safer to carry valid car insurance with you when you drive, so don’t hit the road without it.
Teen Driver Laws
Young drivers in Pennsylvania can apply for their learner’s permits starting at age 16. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), teen drivers must follow these learner’s permit restrictions as part of the state’s graduated licensing program:
|Pennsylvania Learner Permit Requirements for Getting a License||Time Restrictions|
|Mandatory holding period||Six months|
|Minimum supervised driving time||65 hours (10 must be at night and five must be in inclement weather)|
|Minimum age||16 years and six months|
When learner’s permit holders have met the requirements for an intermediate license, they can take a driver’s test. Intermediate licenses require following more restrictions, as outlined below:
|Pennsylvania Restrictions for Intermediate Licenses||Time/Age|
|Nighttime restrictions||11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
12 months and age 17 (if driver education completed) or age 18 (min. age: 17)
|Passenger restrictions (family members excluded unless otherwise noted)||First six months – no more than no passenger younger than 18
After six months – no more than three passengers
12 months and age 17 (if driver education completed) or age 18 (min. age: 17)
Once intermediate license holders have gained enough experience, they’re on their way to applying for a full license.
Older Driver License Renewal Procedures
Here is the license renewal process for drivers over age 65 in the Keystone State.
|Renewal Cycle||Two or four years (depends on personal preference)|
|Proof of Adequate Vision Required||No|
|Mail Renewal Permitted||Yes|
|Online Renewal Permitted||Yes|
Older drivers follow the same renewal process as the general population, but they can choose to renew their licenses every two years. They can also renew online or through the mail rather than visit the DMV.
New Pennsylvania residents with an out-of-state driver’s license must get a Pennsylvania license within 60 days. To get your new license, you must apply in person at a driver’s license center and do the following:
- Surrender your out-of-state license (valid or expired in six months or less)
- Pass a vision screening
- Complete an application for a driver’s license
- Provide proof of residency, proof of identification, and your Social Security card
- Pay any required fees
All documents must show the same name and date of birth or an association between the information on that paperwork. PennDOT might need more paperwork if it can’t establish a connection among documents (for example, a marriage certificate, court order of name change, or divorce decree).
If you have a valid out-of-state driver’s license, you don’t have to pass a knowledge test. But if it has expired for more than six months, you can’t transfer it for a Pennsylvania license. In that case, you must apply for a Pennsylvania learner’s permit and complete all knowledge and skills tests.
License Renewal Procedures
Pennsylvania drivers must renew their licenses every four years. Proof of adequate vision isn’t required. PennDOT allows all license holders to renew online or through the mail, which can save them a trip to the DMV.
Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)
Reckless or careless driving carries several penalties. For a first offense, drivers who endanger others will lose their licenses for six months, pay $200 in fines, and serve jail time up to 90 days.
As listed below, careless driving in Pennsylvania leads to less severe penalties than reckless driving.
|Offense||Crime Classification||Fine||Jail Time||License Suspension|
|Careless driving||Summary offense||Maximum $300||Up to 90 days||None|
|Careless driving that caused serious bodily injury to another person||Summary offense||$250|
$500 if caused death of another person
|Up to 90 days||Six months|
Also, Pennsylvania uses a points system for driving violations. Below are some common offenses and the points PennDOT assigns each:
- Failure to stop at a stop sign – three points
- Failure to stop for a school bus with flashing red lights – five points and a 60-day suspension
- Exceeding the special speed limit in a school zone – three points
- Failure to yield to blind pedestrians – three points
- Careless driving – three points
The points system exists to help improve driving habits and to ensure safe driving. When six or more points appear on a driver’s record, PennDOT takes corrective action.
Drivers who receive six or more points for the first time must take a special written examination. It will test their knowledge of:
- Safe driving practices
- Departmental sanctions
- Related safety issues
Drivers have 30 days to pass the exam. Otherwise, PennDOT will suspend their licenses until they make the grade. If they pass the exam in 30 days, PennDOT will remove two points from their driving records. Drivers who accrue more points face harsher penalties, including license suspension and revocation.
For every 12 consecutive months of safe driving, PennDOT will remove three points from a driver’s record.
What are the rules of the road in Pennsylvania?
We’ve learned a lot about Pennsylvania laws over vehicle licensing and driving penalties. Now, let’s turn our attention to rules of the road that help keep everyone safe, from the assignment of fault to ridesharing and automation.
Fault Versus No-Fault
As covered earlier, Pennsylvania is a “choice” no-fault state. Drivers there can choose between carrying limited (no-fault) tort or full tort (at-fault) coverage. These options affect the cost of your premiums and the damages they’ll cover if you’re in an accident.
No-fault means that an insurer will cover your damages regardless of who caused the accident, and you have a limited right to seek compensation. With at-fault coverage, you can pursue full compensation. The driver responsible for causing the accident would pay for your losses.
This law firm video explains which coverage level is better for drivers:
Another aspect of the state’s fault system is the process of how it assigns fault to drivers who caused an accident through comparative negligence laws. They state that someone injured in a crash can hold a level of fault for the accident and still recover damages.
Under this law, a judge or jury assigns each party in a negligence claim a percentage of fault. This percentage reflects how much their action (or inaction) contributed to the accident and injuries.
It’s crucial to understand these percentages in a personal injury case. Pennsylvania follows a 51 percent comparative negligence rule, which means you can recover damages if you were found to be less than 51 percent at fault. If you’re considered more than 51 percent at fault, you can’t seek compensation.
The laws provide that your degree of responsibility is directly related to the amount of compensation owed to you. For example, if you’re considered to hold 20 percent of the fault, you’ll be entitled to only 80 percent of the settlement.
This Pennsylvania law firm video explains the comparative negligence law:
Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws
For adults, Pennsylvania seat belt laws fall under secondary enforcement, which means that a police officer must catch you for another violation, such as a broken taillight before they issue a ticket. If a child isn’t restrained properly, the infraction is a primary enforcement, and an officer can fine you for the violation.
Below are Pennsylvania seat belt laws.
|Effective since||November 23, 1987|
|Primary enforcement||No (yes for children younger than age 18)|
|Age/seats applicable||18+ years old in front seat|
|First offense – maximum fine||$10 plus fees|
And these are the child seating requirements:
|Type of Car Seat Required||Age/Weight|
|Rear-facing child restraint||Younger than 2 years (until child outgrows manufacturer's age/weight recommendations)|
|Forward-facing child restraint||2 to 3 years old|
|Child booster seat||4 to 7 years old|
|Adult belt permissible||8 through 17 years in all seats|
The maximum base fine for violating a car seat law is $75, which helps enforce child safety.
Finally, the restrictions on riding in the cargo area of a vehicle are as follows:
- Passengers 18 and older if the vehicle travels at less than 35 mph
- People 17 and younger can only ride in the cargo area if it’s enclosed
- Passengers may ride in cargo areas for a parade, hunting, and farm operations
Again, it’s all about safety. These rules prevent passengers from getting injured.
Keep Right and Move Over Laws
Like in other states, if you drive slower than the average speed of traffic in Pennsylvania, you should stay in the right lane.
If you approach vehicles with flashing lights, pass into a non-adjacent lane if it’s safe and possible to do so or slow down. The law also applies to utility vehicles in the first 72 hours after a declared emergency or until a declared emergency expires, whichever occurs later.
For oncoming horse-drawn buggies, PennDOT suggests should drivers dim their lights and look for any vehicles that might try to pass the carriage. Motorists should only pass when it’s safe and legal to do so, and in the process, leave enough of a space cushion for secure passage. Most importantly, don’t honk your horn — it could scare the horses.
Depending on the type of road you drive on, the speed limit can vary. Below are the speed limits you should follow to avoid penalties in Pennsylvania.
|Type of Roadway||Speed Limit|
|Rural interstates||70 mph|
|Urban interstates||70 mph|
|Other limited access roads||70 mph|
|Other roads||55 mph|
Besides the maximum speed limits above, the speed limit in urban districts is 35 miles per hour, and in residential areas, it decreases to 25 miles per hour.
Ridesharing is nothing new to Pennsylvania, which has had laws regarding the driving service since 1982. In Pennsylvania, rideshare drivers must have ridesharing insurance. These carriers offer ridesharing insurance there, so you may be able to get it through your current provider:
- Liberty Mutual
You may also qualify for coverage through the transportation network company you drive for. Lawyers recommend that drivers report to their personal car insurance company if they drive for a rideshare service.
According to Pennsylvania law, drivers must carry insurance that recognizes they work for a transportation network company. For instance, while you’re logged in to your company app, your rideshare coverage will protect you. But, when you’ve logged off, you must carry your own car insurance of at least $50,000 for death and injury per person, $100,000 for death and injury per incident, and $25,000 for property damage.
If an accident happens while passengers are in the vehicle or while you’re traveling to a fare, the company will pay medical costs and damages up to $1 million, regardless of whether an underinsured or uninsured driver is involved. If an accident takes place while you’re waiting for a fare, your personal insurance will provide coverage.
Besides meeting certain coverage needs, you may also need to comply with company requirements, such as a clean driving record and a few years of driving experience.
Automation on the Road
Pennsylvania has jumped on the trend of self-driving cars. Per the IIHS, the Keystone State now regulates highly automated vehicles (HAVs). It has authorized HAV testing and deployment of work zone vehicles. Highly automated work zone vehicles don’t require operator licensing, yet other types of self-driving cars do.
What are the safety laws in Pennsylvania?
The State of Independence has enacted laws over cellphone use and drug and alcohol abuse to curtail reckless and impaired driving. These laws can change over time, which makes it harder to stay on top of them.
Read on to find out about the most important laws designed to keep everyone safe on the road.
In Pennsylvania, drunk driving is known as DAI (Driving After Imbibing). Below is information about the state laws and Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC) limits.
|Name of offense||Driving After Imbibing (DAI)|
|High BAC limit||0.16|
|Criminal status||First and second offenses are misdemeanors;
third+ are second-degree misdemeanors
|Look-back period||10 years|
The look-back period — the time frame for tracking the misdemeanor of a DAI — is 10 years. These are the penalties for first, second, and third offenses.
|Jail Time||Fines||IID Lock||Other|
|First||No minimum||No minimum;|
up to six months probation
|$300||N/A||Alcohol highway safety school;
treatment when ordered
|Second||One year||Five days to six months||$300 to $1,500||One year||Alcohol highway safety school;
treatment when ordered
|Third||One year||10 days to two years||$500 to $5,000||One year||Treatment when ordered|
An IID, required for second and third offenses, is an ignition interlock device that requires drivers to take a breathalyzer test before a car will start.
Given the harsh punishment involved and the harm that can result, if you drink, it’s better to stay off the road to protect yourself and others.
Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws
Marijuana use isn’t legal in the Keystone State yet, but lawmakers submitted a bill for consideration in late 2019. The state currently has a medical marijuana program that requires user registration for access to approved dispensaries.
Pennsylvania bans driving while under the influence of marijuana. It’s also illegal to drive with any amount over one nanogram per milliliter of THC — the active ingredient in marijuana that causes a high — or its metabolites in the blood.
To determine if you’re impaired, a law enforcement officer will examine you for signs such as bloodshot eyes or an unsteady gait. The officer may ask you to take a field sobriety test and a blood or urine test. Urine tests are considered more effective than other chemical tests for detecting metabolites.
- Cannabinoids like THC bind with fatty cells — they stay in your bloodstream long after the intoxicating effects are gone. Cannabinoid levels need only to show in your blood at the time of the arrest.
- Ethanol, the intoxicating compound in alcohol, is water-soluble, meaning that it passes through your body quickly.
- Drug testing is a two-step process in which the state’s lab first identifies the drug and then runs more complex procedures to confirm that drug’s concentration in your blood.
In Pennsylvania, a first offense can result in three days to six months in jail and a $1,000 to $5,000 fine. You may also have your license suspended for one year and be required to attend alcohol highway safety school and take a court-ordered treatment program.
Subsequent convictions carry harsher penalties, including longer jail terms and higher fines. They get even worse if you cause injury or death, and you risk being sued for damages in civil court.
A conviction will go on your permanent criminal record and lead to higher insurance rates. Your provider could also drop you.
Distracted Driving Laws
According to the IIHS, Pennsylvania doesn’t ban the use of handheld devices while driving. However, it does prohibit texting. The law falls under primary enforcement, so if an officer catches you for texting, they can ticket you.
The state also prohibits driving while using or wearing one or more headphones or earphones. This ban doesn’t apply to hearing aids or other devices or the use of a Bluetooth headset with a cellphone that covers only one ear.
Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, texting, or engaging in other illegal behavior while you’re behind the wheel may be a sign of an addiction. Treatment options are available for many forms of this behavior, and it’s never too early to seek help.
Driving in Pennsylvania
Every time you take the wheel in the Keystone State, there’s some element of risk involved, whether it comes from weather or road conditions, impaired drivers, a collision with an animal, or other dangers. It’s tough when these events aren’t already under control. If you know of any challenges ahead of time, it’s better to avoid them.
To help prepare you for common road hazards, we’ll go over vehicle theft rates, fatalities in different conditions, and traffic congestion. Get ready to learn more about how to stay safe.
How many vehicle thefts occur in Pennsylvania?
One of the most overlooked hazards of car ownership is vehicle theft. These are the top 10 stolen vehicles in Pennsylvania.
|Make and Model||Vehicle Year||Total Thefts|
|Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2006||303|
|Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2003||203|
|Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee||1999||188|
The 1997 Honda Accord was the most popular vehicle, followed by the 1998 Honda Civic. Among the other stolen vehicles, many of them were sedan cars, but the 2003 Chevrolet pickup and the 1999 Jeep rounded out the list.
Whether or not your vehicle made the rankings, the risk of theft gives you all the more reason to consider buying comprehensive car insurance coverage in case you need a replacement car.
Looking further, below is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)’s 2017 list of vehicle thefts by city and town in Pennsylvania.
|Upper Darby Township||120|
|Lower Merion Township||50|
|Falls Township, Bucks County||41|
|Northern York Regional||37|
|Spring Garden Township||36|
|Stroud Area Regional||31|
|Abington Township, Montgomery County||28|
|North Huntingdon Township||27|
|Plymouth Township, Montgomery County||22|
|Pocono Mountain Regional||22|
|Upper Merion Township||20|
|Lower Paxton Township||19|
|South Whitehall Township||19|
|Upper Moreland Township||19|
|Upper Chichester Township||18|
|Washington, Washington County||18|
|York Area Regional||16|
|Central Berks Regional||15|
|Tinicum Township, Delaware County||14|
|East Norriton Township||13|
|Lower Providence Township||13|
|Upper Dublin Township||13|
|West Norriton Township||13|
|East Lampeter Township||12|
|Richland Township, Bucks County||12|
|Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County||12|
|Upper Macungie Township||12|
|Lancaster Township, Lancaster County||11|
|Northern Lancaster County Regional||11|
|Robinson Township, Allegheny County||10|
|West Manchester Township||10|
|Westtown-East Goshen Regional||10|
|Central Bucks Regional||9|
|Lower Gwynedd Township||9|
|Northern Berks Regional||9|
|Springfield Township, Delaware County||9|
|Upper Providence Township, Montgomery County||9|
|West Goshen Township||9|
|Jefferson Hills Borough||8|
|Lower Pottsgrove Township||8|
|Lower Windsor Township||8|
|Derry Township, Dauphin County||7|
|Lower Allen Township||7|
|Mifflin County Regional||7|
|New Garden Township||7|
|North Strabane Township||7|
|North Versailles Township||7|
|Upper Southampton Township||7|
|West Brandywine Township||7|
|Butler Township, Butler County||6|
|East Cocalico Township||6|
|Fairview Township, York County||6|
|Lower Moreland Township||6|
|Lower Southampton Township||6|
|Manor Township, Lancaster County||6|
|New Sewickley Township||6|
|Shenango Township, Lawrence County||6|
|South Strabane Township||6|
|Spring Township, Berks County||6|
|Springfield Township, Montgomery County||6|
|West Caln Township||6|
|Carroll Township, Washington County||5|
|North Coventry Township||5|
|North Lebanon Township||5|
|Upper Leacock Township||5|
|Warwick Township, Bucks County||5|
|West Pottsgrove Township||5|
|West Shore Regional||5|
|Allegheny Township, Blair County||4|
|Caernarvon Township, Berks County||4|
|Eastern Pike Regional||4|
|Exeter Township, Berks County||4|
|New Hanover Township||4|
|Newtown Township, Bucks County||4|
|Newtown Township, Delaware County||4|
|North Sewickley Township||4|
|Penn Township, York County||4|
|Schuylkill Township, Chester County||4|
|Upper Saucon Township||4|
|West Hempfield Township||4|
|West Hills Regional||4|
|Bethel Township, Berks County||3|
|Douglass Township, Berks County||3|
|Douglass Township, Montgomery County||3|
|Hanover Township, Luzerne County||3|
|Hempfield Township, Mercer County||3|
|Lawrence Township, Clearfield County||3|
|Lower Frederick Township||3|
|Mahoning Township, Carbon County4||3|
|Middlesex Township, Butler County||3|
|North Belle Vernon||3|
|North East, Erie County||3|
|Penn Township, Butler County||3|
|Roaring Brook Township||3|
|Scott Township, Allegheny County||3|
|Slate Belt Regional||3|
|Southwest Regional, Fayette County||3|
|West Manheim Township||3|
|West Salem Township||3|
|East Hempfield Township||2|
|East Pennsboro Township||2|
|East Whiteland Township||2|
|Fairview Township, Luzerne County||2|
|Franklin Township, Carbon County||2|
|Jackson Township, Luzerne County||2|
|Lehigh Township, Northampton County||2|
|North Cornwall Township||2|
|Northwest Lancaster County Regional||2|
|Pulaski Township, Lawrence County||2|
|Richland Township, Cambria County||2|
|Silver Spring Township||2|
|South Abington Township||2|
|Southern Regional Lancaster County||2|
|Sugarloaf Township, Luzerne County||2|
|Upper Allen Township||2|
|Upper Burrell Township||2|
|Washington Township, Franklin County||2|
|Washington Township, Westmoreland County||2|
|West Deer Township||2|
|Brecknock Township, Berks County||1|
|Butler Township, Luzerne County||1|
|Conemaugh Township, Cambria County||1|
|Conneaut Lake Regional||1|
|East Bethlehem Township||1|
|East Brandywine Township||1|
|East Coventry Township||1|
|East Earl Township||1|
|East Pikeland Township||1|
|East Taylor Township||1|
|Lawrence Park Township||1|
|Lower Heidelberg Township||1|
|Lower Saucon Township||1|
|Mahoning Township, Montour County||1|
|Middlesex Township, Cumberland County||1|
|Millcreek Township, Lebanon County||1|
|Mount Holly Springs||1|
|Mount Pleasant Township||1|
|North Franklin Township||1|
|North Middleton Township||1|
|Northern Cambria Borough||1|
|Old Lycoming Township||1|
|Penn Township, Westmoreland County||1|
|Pine Creek Township||1|
|Shenango Township, Mercer County||1|
|Southern Regional York County||1|
|St. Clair Township||1|
|Upper Gwynedd Township||1|
|Upper Nazareth Township||1|
|Upper Pottsgrove Township||1|
|Upper Providence Township, Delaware County||1|
|Upper St. Clair Township||1|
|Upper Uwchlan Township||1|
|Washington Township, Fayette County||1|
|West Mead Township||1|
|West Sadsbury Township||1|
|West Vincent Township||1|
|Western Berks Regional||1|
|Adams Township, Butler County||0|
|Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County||0|
|Ben Avon Heights||0|
|Briar Creek Township||0|
|Buffalo Valley Regional||0|
|Butler Township, Schuylkill County||0|
|Carroll Township, York County||0|
|Conemaugh Township, Somerset County||0|
|Conewago Township, Adams County||0|
|Cumberland Township, Adams County||0|
|Delaware Water Gap||0|
|East Fallowfield Township||0|
|East Franklin Township||0|
|East Marlborough Township||0|
|East Union Township||0|
|East Vincent Township||0|
|Eastern Adams Regional||0|
|Elk Lick Township||0|
|Foster Township, McKean County||0|
|Foster Township, Schuykill County||0|
|Franklin Township, Beaver County||0|
|Franklin Township, Columbia County||0|
|Greenfield Township, Blair County||0|
|Heidelberg Township, Berks County||0|
|Independence Township, Beaver County||0|
|Independence Township, Washington County||0|
|Jackson Township, Butler County||0|
|Jackson Township, Cambria County||0|
|Jefferson Township, Lackawanna County||0|
|Jefferson Township, Mercer County||0|
|Jefferson Township, Washington County||0|
|Lancaster Township, Butler County||0|
|Lawrence Township, Tioga County||0|
|Lehigh Township, Wayne County||0|
|Little Beaver Township||0|
|Lower Salford Township||0|
|Lower Swatara Township||0|
|Marion Township, Beaver County||0|
|Marion Township, Berks County||0|
|Mount Carmel Township||0|
|Mount Gretna Borough||0|
|New Castle Township||0|
|North Hopewell Township||0|
|North Londonderry Township||0|
|Northeast, Bradford County||0|
|Otto Eldred Regional||0|
|Roaring Creek Township||0|
|Robinson Township, Washington County||0|
|Salem Township, Luzerne County||0|
|Scott Township, Columbia County||0|
|Scott Township, Lackawanna County||0|
|South Annville Township||0|
|South Beaver Township||0|
|South Buffalo Township||0|
|South Centre Township||0|
|South Fayette Township||0|
|South Londonderry Township||0|
|South Pymatuning Township||0|
|Southwest Regional, Greene County||0|
|Spring Township, Centre County||0|
|Tiadaghton Valley Regional||0|
|Tinicum Township, Bucks County||0|
|Tunkhannock Township, Wyoming County||0|
|Union Township, Lawrence County||0|
|Upper Makefield Township||0|
|Washington Township, Northampton County||0|
|Wayne Township, Lawrence County||0|
|West Carroll Township||0|
|West Cocalico Township||0|
|West Cornwall Township||0|
|West Earl Township||0|
|West Fallowfield Township||0|
|West Lebanon Township||0|
|West Nottingham Township||0|
|West Penn Township||0|
With more than 5,400 vehicles stolen, Philadelphia outnumbered other cities. Pittsburgh placed a distant second at 818 thefts.
How many road fatalities occur in Pennsylvania?
In this section, we’ll explore the many fatalities on Pennsylvania roads and their causes, from weather and light conditions to underage drinking. We’ll also factor in emergency medical services’ response times to give you a bigger picture of what goes into a crash scene.
Most Fatal Highway in Pennsylvania
Some roads have more fatal accidents than others. Which highway in Pennsylvania is the deadliest? The route with the most fatalities in recent years is I-80, with 106 crashes and 115 deaths.
Based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) road fatality and accident statistics and average daily traffic counts from the Federal Highway Administration, Geotab gives it a fatal crash rate of 0.5. The site ranks the states in order based on the most dangerous highways.
Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition
Many of us may think of weather conditions as a reason for some crashes, but drivers have also cited light conditions, such as bright morning sunshine and poorly lit areas, as causes. The numbers below show how these conditions affect accidents in Pennsylvania.
|Weather Condition||Daylight||Dark, but Lighted||Dark||Dawn or Dusk||Other/Unknown||Total|
More crashes occurred in normal daylight conditions than in total darkness or weather events. These statistics remind everyone to keep aware of driving conditions and take precautions to stay safe.
Fatalities (All Crashes) by County
Before we get into the details of fatal crashes, we’ll look at the overall numbers throughout Pennsylvania, courtesy of the NHTSA.
From 2013 to 2017, Cameron County, with the lowest population, had the least fatalities, with five total. That’s only about 1 percent of the total crash deaths in Philadelphia County (475), which is the most densely populated.
The data below shows how many fatal accidents happened on rural and urban roads from 2008 to 2017.
For the most part, more accidents occurred in rural areas. Because of their remote nature, adequate lighting may not be as prevalent, and wildlife is more likely to present a danger. Law enforcement isn’t always around, so some drivers may try to exceed the speed limits.
Because hospitals and rescue crews are sometimes far away, it makes sense to drive carefully in the country despite the lack of apparent risks.
Fatalities by Person Type
Who’s been involved in Pennsylvania crash deaths? Did they all include vehicles?
|Light truck – pickup||97||84||112||87||90|
|Light truck – utility||140||130||144||136||136|
|Light truck – van||47||40||48||37||27|
|Light truck – other||1||0||2||2||0|
|Bicyclist and other cyclist||11||19||16||16||22|
Though most of the accidents killed vehicle occupants, many of them also involved motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-occupants.
Another overlooked type of vehicle to watch for the horse-drawn buggy. According to PennDOT, from 2007 to 2016, 23 people died in crashes with buggies (out of 633 accidents), mostly in Lancaster County.
So, whether you’re in a car or on the street, keep your eyes peeled and stay alert to reduce your chances of becoming a statistic.
Fatalities by Crash Type
Now we’ll look at the kinds of deadly crashes that have occurred in the Keystone State, from the vehicles involved to the accident type.
|Total fatalities (all crashes)||1,210||1,195||1,200||1,188||1,137|
|Involving a roadway departure||746||711||772||669||642|
|Involving an intersection (or intersection-related)||224||257||241||272||252|
|Involving a rollover||272||246||250||266||213|
|Involving a large truck||155||162||161||165||167|
For the five years measured, single vehicles and roadway departures contributed to the most fatal accidents.
Five-Year Trend for the Top 10 Counties
Below are statistics for fatal crashes from 2013 to 2017 that occurred in the largest Pennsylvania counties.
|Top Ten Counties||474||489||483||470||490|
|All Other Counties||735||706||717||718||647|
As the most populated county, Philadelphia had the most crash deaths. Despite their higher populations, the fatalities in the top 10 counties made up less than 50 percent of the overall total.
Fatalities Involving Speeding by County
Now, we’re getting into some of the most common causes of crash deaths. One of them is speeding.
Berks and Philadelphia counties had among the highest speeding fatality rates in the state. Conversely, the least populated county, Cameron, had the lowest, with two total from 2013 to 2017.
Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County
Drunk driving also has had a major impact on fatal crashes in Pennsylvania. This data highlights the dangers.
Philadelphia and Allegheny counties consistently had the highest alcohol-related accident fatalities during the five years, while Sullivan and Cameron counties had only two total.
Teen Drinking and Driving
About 6,000 people each year die from accidents with teen drivers who were under the influence of alcohol, more than all illegal drugs combined. Fortunately, efforts to curtail underage drinking in the Keystone State have been successful.
In 2016, 365 teens under age 18 were caught drinking and driving out of 44,111 DUI arrests. The state ranks 12th overall for the number of underage DUI arrests, with 0.8 per 100,000 people. This figure was lower than the national average of 1.2.
EMS Response Time
The time it takes emergency medical services (EMS) crews to arrive at an accident scene also affects fatality rates. Here’s how they compare in rural and urban Pennsylvania.
Faster urban response times generally mean that first responders are closer to the scene and can arrive there faster than at incidents in the countryside.
What is transportation like in Pennsylvania?
What’s the state of traffic in Pennsylvania? How do its citizens get from point A to point B, and do they arrive on time?
We’ll answer those questions below while we look at information from Data USA and elsewhere on car ownership, commute times and commuter transportation. At the end, we’ll explore traffic congestion.
Let’s get rolling.
Nowadays, it’s common for families to own more than one car. Pennsylvanians fit right into that trend — 42 percent of households own two cars, followed by three vehicles. Those ratios are slightly higher than the national average. With the popularity of public transportation in the bigger cities, nearly 5 percent of Keystone State residents don’t own a car.
The typical commute time in Pennsylvania is 25.7 minutes, which is slightly longer than the national average of 25.5 minutes.
But that’s nothing compared to the super commutes of 90 minutes or more that 3 percent of motorists there undergo regularly. And, that number nearly equals that of commuters who reach their destinations in fewer than five minutes.
Seventy-six percent of Pennsylvania’s commuters don’t carpool — they drive alone. Roughly 9 percent carpool, and 5 percent use public transportation.
Inrix’s Global Traffic Scorecard measures traffic levels in major cities worldwide. Here’s how the two biggest cities in Pennsylvania stack up when it comes to traffic congestion:
|City||2018 Impact Rank (2017)||Hours Lost in Congestion||Year-Over-Year Change||Cost of Congestion (Per Driver)||Inner City Travel Time (Minutes)||Inner City Last Mile Speed (mph)|
|Philadelphia||69 (67)||112 (95)||0%||$1,568||Six||10|
|Pittsburgh||59 (56)||127 (77)||5% (increase)||$1,776||Five||13|
Pittsburgh had the most congested traffic in the state, which amounted to 127 hours lost per driver in 2018. The rate increased 5 percent over the prior year.
Among the ways to reduce your commute time is to consider public transportation (if it’s available), leaving earlier or later, or driving during off-peak hours. Telecommuting may also be another option for some. These methods will not only decrease your accident risk, but they may also reduce your stress levels.
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