distracted driver texting on mobile phone

Where Do Most Car Accidents Occur in the Harrisburg Area and Who Is Usually Involved?

If you live in the greater Harrisburg area, you’ve experienced the heavy traffic and aggressive driving that is synonymous with our area.

Major travel routes, such as interstate 81 and 283, are constant sources of congestion and aggressive driving — this means accidents and lots of them.

But what kinds of accidents are happening most? Where are they occurring? And who is usually involved?

In this post, we’ll dive into traffic data from the Pennsylvania DMV and police records to uncover accident hot-spots and provide tips on how to avoid accidents.


Top 10 Crash Hot-Spots in Dauphin County

The map above shows 10 areas in Dauphin County with the most crashes in 2016. The county counted 3,272 crashes that year, and Harrisburg alone is home to 1,285 crashes (or about 40% of the county total).

Harrisburg is a densely populated city, so this distribution of total crashes across the county may not be that alarming. But, we discovered some very interesting details about these statistics that can help drivers stay safe and know what to look for in problem-areas.

Distracted Driving Crashes Have Skyrocketed in the Harrisburg Area

Accidents caused by distracted drivers are far too common in today’s digital age. Police log and DMV statistics indicate that the fastest growing crash category in the last decade has been accidents caused by distracted drivers.

In 1997, Dauphin County counted 3,208 crashes that year and only 61 of those crashes were the result of distracted drivers. In 2016, the total amount of crashes caused by distracted driving was 426. That’s an increase of 598%!

You may have noticed that the total amount of crashes for 1997 isn’t that far from the total amount of crashes for 2016 (3,272 crashes). It’s true that the total amount of crashes for Dauphin County hasn’t changed much over the past decade, but the major contributors to these totals have changed drastically.

Teens and young adults with their cell phones are the cause for this astronomical increase in distracted driving, right? Wrong.

In 1997, there were 350 crashes involving distracted drivers ages 16-17. During the same year there were 48 crashes involving distracted drivers ages 65 years and older. In 2016, 16-17 year old drivers were responsible for 153 crashes and drivers 65 years and older were responsible for 515 crashes.

Distracted driving accidents involving younger drivers have decreased by almost 50% over the past decade, whereas accidents involving older drivers have increased by about 40% during the same period.

Are older drivers more distracted than younger drivers?

There certainly isn’t enough evidence to prove that older drivers are more distracted than their younger counterparts. What we do know is that distracted driving is rising exponentially. Overall alertness is best practice for all drivers, and you should always be scanning the road for hazards and unsafe drivers.

How To Avoid Being a Distracted Driver

Here are some simple tips you can use to decrease your chances of being involved in an accident due to distracted driving:

  1. Use hands-free settings on your mobile and media devices while operating a vehicle.
  2. Interact with media as little as possible while driving:
    • Use hands-free controls or steering-wheel mounted controls.
    • Make a playlist before you begin driving and don’t attempt to edit or change said playlist while driving.
    • Load GPS directions before you begin your trip or pull-over to a safe area before performing a search on your GPS device.
    • Allow a passenger to control entertainment and navigation so that you can concentrate on driving.
  3. Obey all traffic laws and drive at the appropriate speed limit.
  4. Don’t get behind the wheel if you are impaired in anyway.
  5. Be alert for aggressive or distracted drivers and avoid them with safe, defensive driving.


Learn More

If you would like to know more about ways to stay safe on the road, or if you would like to learn more about Harner’s other services call us at 717-561-0547 or visit our About Us page.