Lancaster, PA, has a safety record typical for its size. Lancaster County has 4.3% of the state’s population. It accounts for about 4.6% of the traffic accidents in the state, which means that it has slightly more traffic accidents than it should, based on its size.
But significantly, Lancaster only accounts for 4.2% of Pennsylvania’s traffic deaths. This means that Lancaster traffic accidents tend to cause fewer fatalities than its population would warrant.
Here is some information about Lancaster, PA, car accidents, and the most dangerous roads and intersections in the city.
Accidents in Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County saw 4,794 traffic accidents in 2020. Of these, 2,738 only resulted in property damage. However, 47 accidents in Lancaster caused at least one death. 2,013 caused injuries to at least one person.
Under Pennsylvania law, drivers must report all accidents that result in a personal injury, no matter how minor. This means that these 2,013 accidents might have resulted in injuries ranging from bruises to catastrophic brain or spinal cord injuries.
The total number of accidents in 2020 decreased nearly 21% from 2019. In a normal year, Lancaster would expect to see about 5,900 traffic accidents.
This decrease in 2020 followed a trend in Pennsylvania and the rest of the U.S. Due to measures enacted to slow the spread of COVID-19, traffic accidents decreased substantially.
Also, as expected, traffic deaths increased by nearly 10% in Lancaster in 2020. The increase in deaths has a few explanations, including:
- Alcohol consumption increased during the pandemic
- Speeding increased due to less crowded roads
- Seat belt use decreased in 2020
About 44 people die in Lancaster County traffic accidents in a normal year. In contrast, 47 died in 2020.
Most Dangerous Roads and Intersections in the Lancaster City Limits
Traffic accidents in Lancaster tend to cluster around a few streets and intersections. These include:
Queen Street/US-222/PA-72 provides a major route north through Lancaster. Along with Lime Street, it provides the northbound lanes for US-222.
Queen Street/US-222/PA-72 is a narrow two-lane, one-way road within the city limits. On-street parking on one or both sides of the road throughout the city narrows the through lanes even further.
The posted speed limit on this stretch of road is 25 miles per hour. Even with a low speed limit, Queen Street/US-222/PA-72 has been the site of three fatal traffic accidents and dozens of injury-only accidents in the past 15 years.
Two of the three fatal accidents involved drunk drivers. Queen Street/US-222/PA-72 passes through Lancaster’s city center, with many hotels, restaurants, and bars located on the road.
Prince Street/US-222/PA-272 provides a major route south through Lancaster. It pairs with Queen Street/US-222/PA-272 to provide southbound lanes for US-222.
Prince Street/US-222/PA-272 is a two-lane, one-way road west of Queen Street/US-222/PA-72. Like other streets in downtown Lancaster, on-street parking is permitted on Prince Street/US-222/PA-272. This narrows the street and forces parked cars, moving cars, and pedestrians close to each other.
In the past 15 years, two fatal accidents happened on Prince Street/US-222/PA-272. One crash north of the Conestoga River involved a drunk driver. The other happened near the intersection with the Harrisburg Pike and resulted in four deaths.
This accident was only one of two accidents in Lancaster’s city limits since 2005 that caused multiple fatalities.
Harrisburg Pike/James Street/Park Avenue
As its name suggests, Harrisburg Pike eventually reaches Harrisburg by way of Salunga-Landisville, Mt. Joy, Elizabethtown, Middletown, Highspire, and Steelton. As it enters Lancaster, Harrisburg Pike becomes Harrisburg Avenue, then James Street, and exits Lancaster as Park Avenue.
The posted speed limit in the city is 25 miles per hour. But as it enters Lancaster, Harrisburg Pike is a four-lane highway with a posted speed limit of 40 miles per hour. This drop in speed goes unnoticed by many drivers, resulting in speeding on this road.
This road has seen three fatal accidents and over 20 injury-only accidents within the city limits since 2005.
Intersection of Harrisburg Pike and Prince Street
As previously mentioned, Lancaster’s worst traffic accident in the past 15 years happened at the intersection of Harrisburg Pike and Prince Street. This accident killed four people and injured one.
This intersection brings together two of Lancaster’s busiest roads. Worse yet, the roads intersect at an acute angle that limits visibility. Visibility is so obscured that drivers cannot turn right onto Prince Street on a red light. Instead, a sign warns drivers to wait for the light to turn green.
Dangerous Roads Outside of Lancaster’s City Limits
Two roads just outside of Lancaster also pose a danger to local drivers. These include:
King Street/PA-462 has seen two fatal accidents within the Lancaster city limits since 2005. But over the same time, King Street/PA-462 has been the site of 12 fatal accidents and nearly 100 injury-only accidents outside the city limits from Chestnut View west of the city to Eastland Hills, which lie east the city.
US-30 provides the primary route for reaching Lancaster from Gettysburg and York to the west and Philadelphia to the east.
US-30 does not technically lay inside of Lancaster’s city limits. Instead, you must exit US-30 at Harrisburg Pike, Fruitville Pike, New Holland Avenue, Walnut Street, or US-222 to enter Lancaster.
US-30, like most major highways, sees a lot of accidents. Between Harrisburg Pike to the west to Walnut Street to the east, 13 motorists have died on US-30 since 2005. This six-lane divided highway has a posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour. But the wide road tempts drivers to speed through this section.
Navigating the Most Dangerous Roads and Intersections in Lancaster, PA
Fortunately, you can avoid some of Lancaster’s busiest and most dangerous roads. Lancaster has a simple grid layout for its roads. This allows you to find a route to your destination without using especially dangerous streets and highways.
But when you enter and leave the city, you will probably need to travel on US-30, PA-462, the Harrisburg Pike, or other major roads. As you’re out on these roads, remember to wear your seat belt, slow down, and drive sober. These precautions can help you avoid a fatal outcome if you get into a car accident.If you’ve been in an accident on the roads in Lancaster, contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Marzzacco Niven & Associates at (717) 616-2954 for a free case evaluation. We’ll help you pursue all of the compensation you might be eligible to receive.