Because commercial trucks are so much larger and heavier than other motor vehicles, they pose a threat whenever they are on roads and highways in the United States, including in Pennsylvania. For this reason, truck drivers must be certified to be on the road. Part of their training includes watching out for others on the road. When they feel to meet this responsibility, the results can be tragic as one accident north of Reading recently showed.
On U.S. Route 222 in Maidencreek Township, close to Route 73, the driver of a tractor-trailer was apparently asleep when he plowed into a line of cars and SUVs. The force of the impact was so great that it crushed several cars and eventually pinned others against the outside sign of a local Dunkin’ Donuts store. Two people were killed, and nine were injured. Local police identified the fatal car accident victims as a 23-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman, both area residents. A surveillance video recorded the entire accident.
Fatigue seems to be the principal cause that led the 50-year-old driver of the tractor-trailer to doze off behind the wheel. He was identified as a Reading resident. He was arrested and charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, two counts of involuntary manslaughter, nine counts of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment. He also faces citations for speeding and other driving violations in connection with the accident. Whether the driver was under the influence has yet to be determined, but blood samples were taken.
Falling asleep while behind the wheel is no different from drunken driving — it creates dangers for that driver and every other motorist on surrounding streets and highways. In the event of a car accident, this act of negligence is often enough to hold a driver accountable for all monetary damages.
Source: NBC10.com, “Tractor-Trailer Pins Cars Against Dunkin’ Donuts Sign in ‘Horrifying’ Deadly Allentown Pike Crash, Alison Burdo & Dan Stamm, Nov. 20, 2014