Fatal crashes dropped by 53% between 2020 and 2022 on Roosevelt Boulevard

HARRISBURG – Families of traffic crash victims, road safety advocates, Elected Officials and community members gathered on Tuesday, October 3rd to call for action on the Automated Speed Enforcement program. 

The Roosevelt Boulevard automated enforcement has been very successful, as documented by the recent Transportation Advisory Commission’s (TAC) 2022 review of the program, which found a 11% decrease in fatal crashes on the Boulevard compared to a 16% increase in other parts of Philadelphia during the same time period. The TAC recommended expansion of automated enforcement across the Commonwealth.

Based on the Bicycle Coalition’s analysis of crash data provided by PennDOT and the Philadelphia Parking Authority, we highlight these following results.

  • Speeding tickets dropped by 92% in the first year of the program
  • Fatal and serious injury crashes dropped by 21% from two years prior to 2020 and two years after on Roosevelt Boulevard, while across Philadelphia, fatalities and serious injuries rose.
  • Since 2020, pedestrian fatalities dropped 64% on the Boulevard, while they increased elsewhere in Philadelphia
  • Since the automated speed enforcement program began, on average, 5-6 persons a year are being killed, as compared to 13, which was the average number of people killed before the program began. On average, 5 less people are being killed on the Boulevard thanks to automated speed enforcement.  

“We support HB1284, which eliminates the 2023 sunset provision, plus allows the expansion of automated speed enforcement to other dangerous roads in Philadelphia, subject to PennDOT and City Council approval,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Executive Director, “We also support SB748, which makes the program permanent, but feel strongly that SB748 is not enough for what Philadelphia badly needs. Philadelphia needs the ability to apply automated enforcement to other dangerous roads in Philadelphia (with PennDOT and City Council approval) where speeding related fatal crashes are prevalent and common.”

Fatal crashes are an epidemic across Philadelphia.  In 2022, Philadelphia lost over 120 persons (motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists) who were killed in motor vehicle crashes. Three years after the pandemic, the number of people dying needlessly is still significantly higher than before the pandemic.  And a selection of dangerous roads have been found to be where most of the fatal crashes happen.  They need automated speed enforcement too.

“It’s not just about numbers,” said Stephanie Evans, mother of Robert Evans III who was killed on North Broad Street in 2020. “The people, like my son, who lost their lives because of drivers who drive aggressively and recklessly are precious human beings whose loss forever impacts their families and their communities.”

Philadelphia’s automated speed enforcement program was a strong response to a horrific crash in 2013 that took the lives of 4 individuals; Samara Banks and three of her four sons.  In the words of Samara’s aunt Latanya Byrd, who founded the Greater Philadelphia chapter of Families for Safe Streets: 

“On July 16, 2013, Samara Banks and three of her four sons lost their lives when hit by two people drag racing on Philadelphia streets. Saamir was in her arms that night, Saasean in his stroller, and Saadeem holding on to the stroller. Samara was a young mother who cherished her kids and loved working with children. She was full of life! Samara’s spirit will live on through her one son who survived the crash.”

While Roosevelt Boulevard is the poster child of where speeding used to occur without repercussions in Philadelphia, speeding is a problem on other roads too.  Several recent examples from 2023:

  • On Cobbs Creek Parkway, a speeding teenager slammed into another vehicle killing another driver in March, while in April, a pedestrian was killed on the same roadway by a speeding hit and run driver. 
  • On North Broad Street, pedestrians and motorists have been killed by drivers in nearly every month of this calendar year.  

In each of these cases, automated speed enforcement would have helped by incentivizing better driver behavior and in some cases, could have provided imaging to help identify drivers who flee scenes.

“AAA recognizes the role that automated enforcement can play in improving safety for motorists, pedestrians, and other road users by improving compliance with red lights, speed limits, and other traffic control devices,” said Jana Tidwell, public affairs manager for AAA Club Alliance. “The City of Philadelphia Roosevelt Boulevard Automated Speed Camera Annual Report dated April 2022 noted that since implementation of the Speed Camera Program, speeding violations at monitored locations have decreased by 91.4% as of November 2021. The program should be made permanent and expanded to other locations with a demonstrated pattern of violations and crashes or other safety concerns that can be reduced through the use of automated enforcement.”

“The data clearly shows that the automated enforcement program on Roosevelt Boulevard has been saving lives since its inception five years ago,” said Representative Ed Neilson of Northeast Philadelphia and lead sponsor of HB1284. “I introduced HB1284 to renew and expand this vital program so that we can continue to protect Philadelphia’s motorists, pedestrians, and communities. It needs to be passed immediately.”

Send a letter to your State Senator today and ask them to take action to make the Speed Camera program permanent and expanded to other dangerous roads in Philadelphia! Take Action

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