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Buckle up: PennDOT is looking for feedback on driving behaviors

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is seeking public input on traffic safety and driving behaviors with an online survey.

PennDOT first implemented the survey in 2010 as part of a requirement to get federal funding. The survey isn’t required anymore, but PennDOT has continued to ask drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians their attitudes about highway safety and how they behave behind the wheel.

The survey covers topics like seat belt use, impaired and distracted driving, speeding and more.

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Spokesperson Jennifer Kuntch said, this year, PennDOT hopes to learn more about why people make certain choices while on the road. For example, a simple question like “do you wear a seatbelt?” would have follow-ups like “Have you always worn your seatbelt or did you change your habit? If you change your habit. What made you change your habit?”

“We're really trying to get to the heart of why people change their habits. We know that nine out of ten Pennsylvanians wear a seatbelt,” Kuncth said. “Why doesn't that last lone holdout wear their seatbelt? And what can we say to them to help them wear their seat belt?”

PennDOT could adjust programs meant to help prevent crashes, fatalities and injuries on roadways in response to the results.

“In 2021, 1,230 people died on Pennsylvania roadways. Many of these deaths could have been prevented simply by buckling up, slowing down, paying attention, and driving sober,” PennDOT Acting Secretary Mike Carroll said in a statement. “The results from this survey help us better understand the public’s attitude on highway safety, and potentially allow us to adjust our efforts to reduce crashes and fatalities.”

Each year, the department partners with educational and enforcement grantees on programs meant to prevent car accidents. PennDOT invests more than $25 million in federal grant funds annually. Data collected from the survey will be shared with the groups so they can adjust their programs as needed.

“So, it's just another piece of data as we're developing those programs,” Kuntch said.

Drivers and non-drivers are invited to take the survey. It is available through Feb. 28 and takes about five minutes to complete. Responses are anonymous.

Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at