For many Pennsylvania residents and for commercial truckers alike, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is one of the main East-West routes across Pennsylvania with the other main route being I-80. The Pennsylvania Turnpike stretches across the state for 386 miles. Starting in the west, the highway begins at the Ohio state line located in Lawrence County. Traveling eastward the highway comes to an end at the Delaware River Turnpike toll bridge which connects Bucks County with the New Jersey Turnpike in New Jersey. The road is extremely important because it connects many of the major metropolitan areas in Pennsylvania including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and the state capital of Harrisburg. While signs throughout the state refer to the road as the Pennsylvania Turnpike, depending on location, it can also be designated as I-76, I-70 and I-276
While most travel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike is completed successfully and without incident, the potential for accidents always exists. Quite frankly, accidents are an inherent risk in high-speed travel. However, this risk should not be increased or compounded by unsafe driving behaviors such as fatigue, driving drunk driving, or operation of an unsafe vehicle by truck drivers or commuters. Unfortunately, some drivers do not heed these dangers and end up in wrecks and collisions. Even more unfortunately and sometimes tragically, when the accidents involve large commercial trucks the injuries are usually severe or fatal.
The PA Turnpike Is an Essential Thoroughfare for Freight and Passenger Traffic
As stated above, the turnpike is an East-West route across the state of Pennsylvania that links New Jersey with Ohio The roadway crosses the Appalachian Mountains providing a vital link between the eastern and western parts of the state. The volume of traffic on the road varies depending on location, and a 2010 traffic count found a daily high of 118,000 vehicles between I-476 in PA near Route 309. As such the road is highly trafficked and can become quite congested at times.
The part of the road connecting Pennsylvania to Ohio is known as the Western extension. Traveling eastward the highway crosses the Allegheny River and proceeds through Monroeville. In this area, an interchange with I-376 and US 22 provide commuters and truck traffic a route to Pittsburgh. Proceeding eastward, the highway travels through areas that are more rural before reaching the Allegheny Mountains passing under the mountain range through the Allegheny Mountain tunnel. Following the tunnel, access to U.S. 220 Business Route and the southern terminus of I-99 is available near Bedford.
Continuing east, the turnpike approaches Harrisburg and heads further to the east on the Philadelphia Extension of the highway. The Philadelphia Extension passes through the corner of Lebanon County and then through Lancaster County’s Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Continuing on, the highway interchanges with U.S. 22 and to U.S. 72, continues into Berks County, and then enters into Chester County. The road continues to the Valley Forge interchange in King of Prussia. Here, I-76 branches off from the turnpike as the Schuylkill Expressway towards Philadelphia.
The Delaware River extension identified as I-276 links Upper Merion Township with Bristol Township and provides access to the New Jersey Turnpike. While a connection to I-95 has yet to be completed, is the process of being built and should further increase commuter and truck traffic on the road.
Why do Truck Accidents Occur on the PA Turnpike?
The Pennsylvania Turnpike is a toll road that proceeds through a broad swath of the state. The road travels through both rural and urban areas as well as through flat and mountainous terrain. This variation in environment and road conditions can cause problems for some drivers especially experienced commercial truck drivers. Driver’s that fail to adjust to changing conditions include including levels of traffic can cause serious accidents. Furthermore, for drivers traveling across the state and the length of the road, boredom or fatigue can set in. Drivers who fail to maintain their focus and attention on the road are significantly more likely to cause an accident.
Other reasons for accidents on the turnpike involving trucks stem from the physical characteristics of a large truck like an 18-wheeler or a box truck. simply put these vehicles can weigh up to 70000 pounds and measure 70 or more feet in length. These physical characteristics mean a few things for a truck driver. First, the drivers less able to take last-minute evasive action should a driver cut him or her off. This can cause a rollover and furthermore, the vehicle is less responsive than the average passenger car. Additionally, Baha’i vehicle weight means at a significantly larger stopping distance is required to bring the truck to a full and complete halt.
However, a number of other conditions can also cause serious accidents on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. These risks include:
- Adverse weather conditions that reduce visibility.
- Snow and ice on the road that increases stopping distances
- Poor vehicle maintenance
- Unexpected road construction
- Use of alcohol or drugs
In many cases, two or more factors combine to make an accident unavoidable.
Contact a Trucking Accident Lawyer If You’ve Been Hurt
If you’ve been in an accident due to a careless truck driver, negligent truck driver, or reckless commercial vehicle operator you may be entitled to compensation. The truck accident lawyers of the Reiff Law Firm’s The Truck Accident Team can fight to hold the trucking company accountable for your injuries. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call (215) 246-9000 today.