A recent research by a large auto insurance provider revealed that the city of Philadelphia is one of the riskiest cities for car crashes.
The 193 cities were examined to determine the frequencies of accidents that occur there. Overall, Philadelphia ranked sixth among the cities. It, however, topped the list among the 10 largest cities in the U.S.
Philadelphia’s policyholders are on average, involved in car collisions every 6.4 years. New Yorkers, by comparison, get into car crashes every eight years while Clevelanders and Sioux Falls, S.D., average 10.7 and 13.5 years respectively. Residents in Washington D.C. get involved in car accidents every 5.1 years, making it the 10th riskiest city for car collisions.
The city fared better than other smaller cities included in the survey. It beat Hartford, Conn., Newark, N.J., and Baltimore.
Industry experts say that the study was conducted to identify cities in the U.S. with the safest drivers. Traffic experts, however, greeted the findings, with skepticism and suspicion.
Jenny Robinson, spokesperson for Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation, said the city performed much better than the study’s conclusion. In fact, the city reported that 2008 was its better in a decade based on reportable crashes. Officials define these particular crashes as those that involve deaths or injuries, or require the vehicles the be towed away.
Robinson added that Philadelphia is seeing a great improvement in highway safety and was perplexed how the findings of the study conflicted with that.
Some experts also question the method used in the survey.
Martin T. Pietrucha, of the Pennsylvania State University’ Thomas D. Larson Transportation Institute, said that while there may be a lot of minor collisions, fender benders are hardly a measure of safety.
He explained that the study might have suffered from false data if Philadelphians chose to report every little collision to their insurers. Many specialists agree with the theory. Several other studies have also suggested the same possibility.
Other analysts contend that several cities show lower collision frequencies because of greater land areas. They added that because many cities incorporate large tracts of land as suburbs, collisions do not happen as frequently as in smaller cities, owing to lower traffic congestion.
Pietrucha did admit, however, that Philadelphian motorists have to deal with so many factors that can affect their driving. Aging buildings, narrow streets, and car-filled narrow lanes can severely limit drivers’ field of vision, resulting in more car collisions and accidents, he explained.