Deadly Accident Increase in Philadelphia in 2020

A year of stay-at-home orders and work-from-home mandates hasn’t led to safer trips for motorists in Philadelphia. Somehow the number of traffic fatalities in 2020 has moved higher and higher to approach record levels for the city.

The frightening rise in deadly crashes in 2020 is all the more shocking when you consider we have yet to flip the calendar on this pandemic-dominated year.

Deadly 2020 on Philadelphia Streets

PBS WHYY-TV reported on this deadly year of COVID-19 tragedies, by looking at the costs in human life caused by another killer, motor vehicle accidents.

The Philadelphia Police Department confirms 111 fatal automobile crashes in the city through October. That number grows to 119 deaths when including several accidents that are still being investigated. Either number means 2020 is the deadliest year for the city dating back to 1997 when 137 people lost their lives in crashes.

The accident rates already dwarf the 75 people that were killed in 2019 in Philadelphia from January to October. PennDOT found that by the end of 2019, 91 people had lost their lives on City roadways. 2020 has already well surpassed that no matter what measure you use.

Pedestrians and Bicyclist Dangers in 2020 Philadelphia

The tragedy of 2020 extends to pedestrians and cyclists as well, the most vulnerable travelers on Philadelphia streets.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia tracks tragic vehicular crashes daily. By their count, 2020 had already seen 126 fatal crashes by the end of November. That heartbreaking number includes 45 pedestrian deaths. By comparison, all of 2019 saw 29 pedestrian deaths in Philadelphia County according to PennDOT. There have already been four bicyclists killed in 2020. 2019 saw two cyclists killed over the entire year.

Also included in that 126 fatalities collected by the Bicycle Coalition are 47 victims were in vehicles and another 28 on motorcycles. In another tragic turn, the Coalition reports 27 of these incidents involved a hit-and-run driver.

Pedestrian Study for Philadelphia

It’s not surprising that Pedestrians are suffering in 2020, because pedestrians were always been at elevated risk even before the pandemic. Now that there are fewer drivers, but perhaps more reckless driving, pedestrians have to be extremely careful crossing the road.

Some of the most dangerous roads for pedestrians and bicyclists continue to offer unsafe conditions for anyone on foot or bicycle in 2020. The Bicycle Coalition finds that 10 of their reported fatalities in 2020 have occurred on Roosevelt Boulevard.

According to a pedestrian study commissioned by Edith Pearce and the Pearce Law Firm of Philadelphia, Roosevelt Boulevard has been the most hazardous place for anyone on foot for many years. Bustleton Avenue and Broad Street have also led to a frightening amount of accidents and will continue to be unsafe places for the foreseeable future.

The study includes a survey of local residents and finds the constant construction projects around Philadelphia and the sidewalks they block are the top concern of Philadephia pedestrians. While the pandemic slowed development for a few months, construction seems to be booming again, leaving some pedestrians out in the street trying to avoid plywood, chainlink fences, and orange barrels. For more on the results of that pedestrian survey, check out the study.

Calming Philadelphia Traffic in 2021

With a difficult year coming to an end, it may be that all of the loss associated with the pandemic has served to conceal some of the other tragedies taking place on local streets and highways. Philadelphia has never been the safest place for drivers, riders, and pedestrians, but it may take a record-breaking and devastating year to send a wake-up call to city leaders and all drivers to make changes the city can live with. 2021 offers a chance to make real-time corrections to avoid repeating the mistakes of the very recent past.

Contact Philadelphia’s Pearce Law Firm

If you’ve been the victim of a serious accident due to the actions of a careless driver contact a Philadelphia lawyer who will fight for the rights of her clients.  You weren’t to blame for your injury and you shouldn’t have to worry over hospital bills and lost paychecks as you try to heal and get back on your feet again.

Contact local attorney Edith Pearce for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case. She has worked for insurance firms in the past and is uniquely qualified to take them on to get the compensation you’ll need in recovery.

Pennsylvania Red Light Law

pennsylvania red light lawOn September 18, 2016, Pennsylvania’s red light law was amended.  The bill singed into law, called the “Ride on Red law,” allows any vehicle (truck, car, bicycle, motorcycle, scooter) to go through a red light with caution at an intersection if the traffic signal’s detection system fails to recognize it. The signal should be treated like a stop sign in this situation.  Representative Stephen Bloom of Cumberland County introduced the bill.  This bill was originally advocated by motorcycle and bike organizations such as the Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) about changing the law to address the situation where bikes and motorcycles are stuck at red lights because the light’s sensor fails to trigger the traffic light to change. In some cases, traffic lights depend upon traffic activating sensors under the road that detect when a vehicle has approached the intersection. The weight of the vehicle causes the light to turn. But sensors may not pick up motorcycle and bike traffic; hence the law was passed to hopefully address this problem. However, the law applies to all vehicles, not just motorcycles and bicycles.

Public Safety and the New Red Light Law

Some citizens have expressed public safety concerns about the new red light law in Pennsylvania. Legislators say the new law does not give drivers the ability to just go through a red light whenever they wish. Instead, they expect drivers to use their best judgment when a light may be malfunctioning, and to proceed through the light with appropriate caution. The law states drivers must come to a full stop. If the light is unresponsive, then they can go through it. The law amended the definition of malfunctioning or inoperative signals to include “a signal that uses inductive loop sensors or other automated technology to detect the presence of vehicles that fails to detect a vehicle.”

How Long Do You Have To Wait to Go Through a Red Light?

The law does not say how long drivers must wait before the light is not working or “unresponsive’ under the law. PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police encourage people to use common sense. The red light signal has to obviously be not working or malfunctioning, either totally dark or frozen in the red mode (or going through several cycles without giving you a green light).

In many cases, this law will come into play in more rural parts of Pennsylvania and not on the busy city streets of Philadelphia or other urban areas.

Dangers of Running Red Lights

The logic behind the new red light law is sound. But it is possible that more people will now run red lights in the state. If you ever run a red light, you have a higher risk of a serious car accident. Running a red light can cause a dangerous T-bone accident where the side of the vehicle offers limited protection in a violent crash. It is important for drivers to not use the new red light law as an excuse to start running through red lights, or there could be an increase of serious car accidents in the state.

Accidents at intersections are common throughout the US. The Federal Highway Administration states 2.5 million auto crashes happen every year at intersections. This is 40% of all auto crashes in a typical year. Other national statistics suggest as many as 50% of all serious accidents happen at intersections. Also, 165,000 crashes occur because people run red lights.

Talk to a Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorney Today

Car accidents caused by running a red light can be severe and life changing. If your car was hit at an intersection because someone ran a red light, you could have serious injuries from which it will take months to recover. Talk to a Philadelphia personal injury attorney to ensure your legal rights are defended. You could be entitled to compensation, so please contact us today.

Edith Pearce Receives Super Lawyer Designation for Seventh Year

August 17, 2015 – Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer Edith Pearce was named as a Pennsylvania “Super Lawyer” for 2015 according to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list published in the June issue of Philadelphia magazine. This is the seventh year that Ms. Pearce has been recognized with this designation. The “Super Lawyer” award is based on peer reviews, meaning that other lawyers nominate area attorneys for the award that they have personally seen at work. Super Lawyers, a division of Thomson Reuters, rates and honors those lawyers who have achieved considerable professional success in their practice as recognized by other attorneys.

Ms. Pearce said of the award, “I’m very proud of this recognition as my peers have once again recognized my abilities in and out of the courtroom and my dedication to my clients.” Read more about Edith Pearce

Edith Pearce

Edith Pearce – Super Lawyer 2015

Attaining the Super Lawyers award is not easy: only about 5 percent of Pennsylvania’s attorneys are named Super Lawyers (approximately 2,500 out of more than 50,000 attorneys statewide). The process of becoming a Super Lawyer is lengthy and begins each year when attorneys are invited to submit nominations for the award. A team of researchers with Super Lawyers then begins researching each nomination and awarding them a certain number of points based on various aspects of their professional practice. The research team that evaluates candidates looks to 12 factors in making their decision, including: (1) verdicts and settlements won by the attorney; (2) other honors and awards received; (3) special licenses and certifications possessed by the attorney; (4) the attorney’s involvement in the community and history of providing free legal services to those in need; and (5) any scholarly writings or lectures completed by the attorney. At the end of the evaluation, only those attorneys who receive the highest total points are designated as Super Lawyers and recognized for their “high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.”

Edith Pearce is a nationally-recognized trial attorney and is the founder of The Pearce Law Firm, P.C.. The Pearce Law Firm is a Philadelphia-based law office dedicated to pursuing compensation on behalf of those severely injured in personal injury accidents such as car or truck accidents or slip and fall incidents. The firm also helps pursue justice for those who have been unfairly discriminated against or harassed in the workplace. For Ms. Pearce, this is the seventh time Philadelphia magazine has recognized her as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer; she has also been recognized by Newsweek as one of the 20 Leaders in the Law and as a Philadelphia Top Lawyer by the Philadelphia Inquirer. In addition, she has obtained an AV rating – the highest rating available – from Martindale-Hubbell, the nation’s preeminent rating service that rates personal injury attorneys. Ms. Pearce is also a member of MENSA. The Pearce Law Firm, P.C. is available to help injury victims in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania recover monetary damages for their injuries and losses. The office is located at 1429 Walnut Street, 14th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102 and can be reached by phone at (215) 600-1433.

Philadelphia Crime Review: 2013

Charles Ramsey has been the commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department for six years. He assumed this position in 2007, and recently said in an interview that crime of almost every type has dropped since he took over. In the past year, crime experienced an aggregate decrease of more than 5%.

The most notable drop is the homicide rate, which has decreased 36% in the six years that Ramsey has been in charge, including a 25% drop from 2012 to 2013. The statistics also show an 8% drop in aggravated assaults involving the use of a firearm. This statistic is significant because it is directly tied to the homicide rate. If homicides are down but shootings have become more frequent, it indicates that there has not been a drop in illegal activity at all. Instead, it means that emergency medical personnel have simply become more adept at saving the lives of people who have suffered gunshot wounds. 

Property crime has also dropped, with a 6% decrease in the last year. Robberies are down 9% in the last year and approximately 17% in the six years since Ramsey became the police commissioner. In fact, illegal activity has decreased across the board, with a 6% total decrease in the year 2013 as compared to the year 2012.

However, there is an exception. One significant increase in Philadelphia occurred in the area of rapes, which have increased by a double-digit percentage since Ramsey took over. However, there may be a mitigating factor: the statutory definition of rape has been broadened in the last decade, meaning that more actions fall under the definition now than they did 10 years ago. According to Ramsey, if the old statutory definition was still in effect, there would be a 10% decrease in rapes, as opposed to an increase.

Victims of sexual crimes should always contact a Philadelphia injury lawyer to ensure their rights are protected to the fullest extent. Philadelphia attorney Edith Pearce, who was designated as a Super Lawyer, one of the top 5% of Pennsylvania attorneys, can help.  Give The Pearce Law Firm a call for a free consultation.