18-Wheeler and Large Truck Accidents in Pennsylvania - Pennsylvania Law Firm
Truck Accidents in Pennsylvania
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2012, 166 people were killed in Pennsylvania in accidents involving a large truck. It remains no surprise that the trucking industry and those who drive large trucks on an a routine basis are involved in accidents. One of the worst accidents on Pennsylvania record happened in February of 2014 in Feasterville, Pennsylvania. The I-276 Pennsylvania Turnpike was shut down on the eastbound lane when over 100 vehicles, including semi trucks, were involved in a massive pileup caused by icy roads and sun glare. In 2013, in Kidder Township, Pennsylvania an accident involving three semis claimed the life of one person. Foggy weather contributed to this fatality when a slow-moving semi was hit by a tractor-trailer trying to pass it. A third tractor-trailer behind both vehicles was unable to move out of the way and the driver was killed.
Causes of Pennsylvania Truck Accidents
Accidents involving semi-trucks and other vehicles are devastating, and can do a great amount of damage to anyone involved due to the weight of the vehicle, the cargo that may have been on the vehicles, and weather conditions that surrounded the incident. But, Pennsylvania also presents its own set of challenges related to industry and geography with unique dangers that drivers in this region face all the time. Some of these unique conditions include:
- Tow-trucks: The tow-truck industry is a busy one in Pennsylvania, both in the bigger cities and in the smaller towns. Vehicles that break down are not always easily accessible in remote parts. And, in heavier traffic areas, the speed and road conditions do not lend ease to helping those in need. Tow-truck drivers face hazards of their own including dark streets with limited visibility; other vehicles that are unable to see them when they are under a car, hooking up the tow, or unable to move out of the way of swift, oncoming traffic.
- Farm trucks: Farming in Pennsylvania means large farm trucks and trailers are used to transport grains and, at times, hazardous materials. While regulations guide how cargo can be transported, this predominant Pennsylvania industry means these types of materials are carried frequently. A common hazard in the area is trucks or trailers tipping over while emptying a load; another common accident is the crushing of a worker while under the tractor or trailer. Caution can and should always be taken when on a farm and working with farm trucks and other equipment.
- Mountain Ranges: The Shenandoah and Pocono mountain ranges are some of the most beautiful in our nation. But, for big trucks and those sharing the road with big trucks, the journey can be hazardous. Mountain ranges almost always mean slow-moving vehicles, or those who are distracted by the beautiful terrain.
- Logging industry: Several hazards occur in the logging industry in general, and trucking accidents involving logging trucks are especially devastating. OSHA has outlined several ways to keep the trucking industry safe including loading and unloading procedures and required training. Under the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, one can find a Pennsylvania Trucker’s Handbook and other publications related specifically to logging industry.
- Weather: Pennsylvania has a full range of weather conditions, and those that affect driving the most include frosty mornings and increased sun glare which can cause wet leaves to the cover traffic lines. Frost on bridges and overpasses become slippery and icy. In fact, snow and ice is such a hazard that Pennsylvania state law quotes that, “no person shall drive a vehicle with ice and snow on the front rear or side windows if it obstructs or impairs the driver's view of the road. Also, if snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicles or pedestrian and causes death or serious injury, the operator of the vehicle from which the snow and ice came is subject to a fine of $200 to $1000 for each offense.”
- Rural roads: Pennsylvania is known for its rambling roads and scenic views seeping with tradition and a taste of the past. As a result, the very same roads that we use for our vehicles and by those driving large trucks could be the same roads used by those operating grain equipment and horse-drawn vehicles. Their uniqueness is stifled by the narrowness of the roads meaning less room to maneuver. Horse-drawn vehicles are required to display a symbol that indicates a slow-moving vehicle, and special precautions should be used when encountering one of those vehicles. The operator of the slow-moving vehicle will not always pull to the right to let you pass, or he may pull to the right to indicate a wide turn before turning left. In Pennsylvania farm and horse-drawn vehicles have the same right to use public roads as other motor vehicles. It pays to know the rules of the state where you will be driving.
- Instability of the vehicle: The steep roads narrow passageways throughout Pennsylvania present challenges for truck drivers in the form of loose debris or unstable ground.
- Power lines: Overhead power lines are found in rural farms across Pennsylvania, and those in the trucking industry should be especially careful when encountering areas that have low hanging power lines.
- Forest areas: Forest and wooded areas where trucks must sometime travel present challenges like falling debris, or darting animals.
Pennsylvania Truck Accident Prevention
Preventing a truck accident is not always foreseeable, although we can all do the best we can to pay attention the general rules of the road and conditions regarding construction and weather. In an effort to make vehicles and trucks more compatible on the road, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is ahead of the curve in their development of a truck safety program designed for high school students so they can learn about the hazards involved with driving on the road with large trucks. And, Pennsylvania State University has issued a flyer related to farm dump truck and tractor trailer safety which outlines safety for those trucks and vehicles that are used on farms.
Truck accident prevention most often means simply paying attention, particularly if you are on a highway or roadway frequented by any type of large vehicle. Other precautions include:
- Paying attention to slow moving vehicles, whether on rural roads or mountain ranges.
- Passing appropriately and only when you can see clearly ahead of you.
- Making sure that you know the rules of the road. All states have rules that vary when it comes to trucks and commercial vehicles. In Pennsylvania, the rule also includes horse-drawn or slow moving vehicles.
- Staying awake and free from the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Taking a rest when you need it, so you are alert on the road.
Legal Help for Pennsylvania Truck Accident Victims
Truck accidents of any kind always present unique challenges to the victim and others involved. Big-rigs, trucks and other tractor trailers are found in all parts of Pennsylvania and the cause of accidents involving these vehicles is not always easy to determine. Challenges like lack of witnesses, slow response time to where the accident happened, and special road rules for Pennsylvania may hold up the process. When a trucking accident affects you or a family members, your world turns upside down. Emotional and physical elements take their toll. The law firm of Finz & Finz, a firm who has the record settlement for a truck-trailer case, which is the largest record settlement for personal injury truck accidents settlement in the history of New York State, are experienced in helping you with your Pennsylvania truck accident when you are ready to give them a call. Having your case in the hands of a renowned firm will allow you to focus on family and wellness rather than the legal details of a lawsuit.
If you, a family member or someone you know has suffered a serious injury or death from a trucking related accident, contact the Finz Firm now, toll free at (855) TOP FIRM to fill out the Free Pennsylvania Truck Accident Case Evaluation Form to start the process.