Few accidents are more frightening to the average driver than those that occur during a traffic slow down on an interstate highway. Many things can cause a car or truck accident, but those involving significant speed differentials between vehicles or structures can be the deadliest. The combined approach speed is why head-on crashes frequently cause fatalities.
When traffic slows and stops on a 55, 65 or 75 mile per hour interstate highway, the omnipresent danger for the stopped traffic is the car or truck driver that fails to notice the slowed traffic until it is too late.
Such a horror unfolded on I-78 this week, on a section of the interstate with a higher than normal accident rate. Traffic slowed in the eastbound lanes near Exit 40. A tractor-trailer slammed into one car, crushing it and killing the driver. It also forced it into a second vehicle. Both vehicles were engulfed flames and the couple in that vehicle could not escape the fire.
The truck driver attempted to back away from the burning vehicles, but the one car was stuck under the front of the truck, and the truck also caught fire and burned.
The Pennsylvania State Trooper said they did not know way traffic had slowed, but he said the truck driver would probably charged with offenses that were yet to be determined. No reason was given why the driver did not stop. The investigators will probably look at phone and text records to see if he was distracted.
The section of I-78 has a 71 percent higher rated of traffic accidents than other roads and a 40 percent higher rate of fatal car and truck crashes. Safety improvements are slated to begin next year, adding new lanes and wider shoulders.
For the three motorists killed this week the changes will arrive too late.
Source: The Morning Call, "As I-78 safety is probed, three dead in 7-vehicle crash are identified," Manuel Gamiz Jr. and Frank Warner, May 13, 2014