Thanksgiving Car Accidents in Pennsylvania

More car accidents occur during the Thanksgiving holidays than any other time of the year. Travelers take to the nation’s roads en masse, and the high volume of traffic paired with drunk, distracted, and careless driving leads to a disturbing spike in traffic fatalities. In Pennsylvania, the Department of Transportation (PennDOT) uses awareness campaigns and additional patrols to help keep travelers safe from Thanksgiving car accidents.

What do the statistics say about Thanksgiving weekend car accidents?

In Pennsylvania, like the rest of the country, there is a significant increase in traffic accidents and crash fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday. According to statistics compiled by PennDOT, there were more than 4,600 crashes in Pennsylvania between the Saturday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2015. These crashes led to 51 deaths.

Comparing these numbers to other holidays, a clear picture emerges of how dangerous travel can be during this time. These 4,600 crashes account for 28 percent of all holiday auto accidents in the state during 2015, and 25 percent of all holiday traffic fatalities.

According to reports published by Philadelphia Magazine, the Pennsylvania State Patrol made 558 DUI arrests during the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday. About a tenth of all car accidents it responded to involved a drunk driver. Officers also issued 1,296 seat belt violation citations, 318 citations for infant and child car seat violations and 14,985 speeding tickets. It is also important to note that these numbers do not include citations issued by other law enforcement agencies, such as local police.

In 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 341 fatalities over the Thanksgiving holiday nationwide. Half of those killed were not wearing seatbelts.

How can I keep my family safe on the roads this holiday season?

Using common sense and practicing defensive driving are, perhaps, the best ways to protect your family if you are traveling on PA roads this Thanksgiving. Other tips include:

  • Obey all speed limits, and drive an appropriate speed for conditions.
  • Avoid distractions behind the wheel.
  • Get enough sleep, and alternate drivers if you feel sleepy.
  • Give yourself extra time and plan on encountering traffic tie-ups.
  • Try to avoid traveling the day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following Thanksgiving, when roads are the busiest.
  • Always wear a seat belt and make sure all your passengers buckle up. Make sure you restrain animals if they are traveling with you.
  • If you see an intoxicated driver, stay as far away as possible and report him or her whenever safe to do so (either pull over or have a passenger report the driver).
  • Check your route before leaving, including any potential weather problems, road conditions, and traffic by calling 511 or by visiting

What is PennDOT doing to reduce fatality accidents?

PennDOT, the Pennsylvania State Police, and local police agencies are ready for the increase in traffic on PA’s interstates, highways, and roadways this holiday season. Expect to see them out in force, partnering to reduce the number of auto accidents through increased enforcement.

The Pennsylvania State Police are participating in the nationwide “Click It or Ticket” campaign November 14-27, 2016. This seat belt enforcement event includes high visibility patrolling, increased seat belt-related messaging, additional traffic safety patrols, and checkpoints. The officers participating in this campaign will also be on the lookout for other dangerous behaviors, including speeding and aggressive, impaired, or distracted driving.

Discuss your accident with Cordisco & Saile, LLC

Not all accidents are avoidable. If you or a loved one suffers injuries in a PA or NJ car accident caused by a drunk, distracted, or negligent driver, the Bucks County accident lawyers at Cordisco & Saile LLC can help you protect your rights and gain fair injury compensation. Call us today at 215-642-2335 to learn more.