When you are driving along the highway near Chambersburg, say U.S.30 or I-81, and you are traveling next to a semi truck, you may not even give it a second thought. After all, when driving those roads for any distance, you would likely see dozens, if not hundreds of tractor-trailers.
Any motorists near exit 14 on I-81 were probably shocked and terrified if they were following a tractor-trailer in the southbound lanes when the truck went out of its lane, struck a guardrail and tipped over. It blocked all of the southbound lanes for about nine hours as the Pennsylvania State Police investigated the truck accident and the crash scene was cleaned up.
Fortunately, the truck driver suffered only minor injuries and apparently, no other vehicles were involved in the crash. The news report does not suggest a cause of the accident, but given that it occurred at 1 am, driver fatigue could have been a factor.
While it backup traffic, a truck crash like this could have been much worse if it had occurred when the road was busy. The tractor-trailer could have overturned on other vehicles and with it blocking all lanes of the interstate, vehicles could have crashed into its wreckage, severely injuring or killing those motorists.
If other drivers had been injured, sorting out the legal liability can quickly become complex, as determining the sometimes overlapping layers of responsibility is difficult as multiple attorneys and insurance companies become involved.
An additional concern with this crash was its cargo, which consisted of some hazardous materials. The necessitated the use of a HAZMAT team to assist in the cleanup. If the hazardous materials caught fire, a toxic cloud of smoke could have endangered people living or working in the area.
Source: WHAG TV news, "I-81 SB Reopens After Tractor Trailer Rollover," May 30, 2014