I-80 is a major transcontinental highway that stretches from Teaneck, New Jersey to San Francisco California. At both of the road terminuses, significant freight traffic from the corresponding ports and major commercial airports enter onto the roadway and continues into the interior of the United States. As a coast-to-coast superhighway, I-80 is the second-longest highway in the United States and the route that most closely approximates the route of the original Lincoln Highway. The full length of I-80 passes through or close to many major cities including Oakland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Des Moines, Chicago, Cleveland, and New York.
A sizeable portion of I-80 passes through Pennsylvania. In the state, the route links Ohio and New Jersey and is known as the Keystone Shortway, officially the Z.H. Confair Memorial Highway. The road does not mirror the routes of any earlier constructed U.S. highways and was originally built entirely as a more direct shortcut between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the New York Throughway.
Commuters and Interstate Truck Traffic Make Use of I-80 in Pennsylvania
I-80’s route construction linking the PA Turnpike and New York State Throughway mean that the highway attracts a significant amount of interstate traffic. Furthermore, due to I-80’s close proximately to Port Elizabeth and New York, a significant amount of that interstate traffic is 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks.
However, commercial truck traffic also shares the road with a significant number of passenger vehicles. While some of these vehicles are traveling long distances across state lines, many commuters also make use of the road. Some of these business commuters are commuting from eastern Pennsylvania towns like East Stroudsburg, Stroudsburg, and Pocono Township to businesses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In the area of Kidder Township in Carbon County, Pennsylvania, many Pennsylvanians will access the Northeast Extension of the Penna Turnpike. From Carbon County, PA, the road also provides access to an array of other major roads including I-81 to Harrisburg and Wilkes-Barre, I-99 South, I-79 to Pittsburg, or continue on I-80 towards Youngstown, Ohio.
Why Do Truck Accidents Occur on Highways Like I-80?
One of the reasons serious trucking accidents can occur on high-speed highways and freeways like Interstate 80 are the differences in characteristics between large trucks and passenger vehicles. All too often the drivers of passenger vehicles do not account for the fact that commercial trucks are less maneuverable than a car or light truck. However, in other circumstances, a commercial truck driver facing a tight deadline may drive his or her truck too fast in excess of posted speed limits. The driver may underestimate the stopping distance a large and potentially fully loaded truck needs to stop.
Consider that at 55 miles per hour the distance the truck will travel while the driver is reacting to the threat and hazard is approximately 60 feet. Thereafter, it will take another 225 feet for the truck’s brakes to bring the vehicle to a full stop for a total stopping distance of 285 feet. On roadways permitting rates of travel of 65 miles per hour or greater, the required stopping distances even greater. A semi traveling at 65 miles an hour requires greater reaction time and braking distances taking a full 525 feet to come to a stop. This is nearly the length of two full football fields.
Why Are Truck Accidents Often More Serious than Accidents Involving Passenger Vehicles?
Accidents involving commercial trucks are often serious and produce significant life-altering injuries like broken bones, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and other serious injuries for similar reasons. While the exact physics behind the accident are significantly more complex, a good basic starting point to understand the impact the additional mass a large truck has is the equation force equals mass times acceleration (F=ma). Since mass and speed are multiplied, an increase to either means that a greater force is involved in the accident. Thus, it is no surprise that more force is involved when the mass of a 3,000 to 4,000 car that is 12 to 18 feet in length is increased to a 65-foot long semi-trailer weighing 80,000 pounds. Since those forces act on the vehicles involved and their occupants, commercial truck accidents often produce significantly more serious injuries.
I-80 in Pennsylvania Commercial Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been in a commercial trucking accident on I-80 in Pennsylvania, the truck accident attorneys of Reiff Law Firm can fight for you. To schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss whether you are entitled to damages for your injuries call (215) 246-9000 or contact us online today.