I-81 in Pennsylvania May Add New Median Safety Features

The year 2018 will see design work underway on part of I-81 in Pennsylvania in the Carlisle area that could include new median barriers to prevent crossover accidents, such as a serious tractor trailer crash that occurred in 2017. 

The project was spurred by that truck crash last March when a truck driver suffered a medical emergency and crossed the median on I-81 in Middlesex Township in Pennsylvania. He slammed into two vehicles in the southbound lanes and left both drivers seriously injured.

Local authorities have identified two parts of the highway in the Carlisle area that are the most common areas for crossover accidents involving tractor trailers. One of them is the Allen Road exit and the other is the College Street exit.

The new safety feature being considered is a cable median barrier that could hopefully prevent some crossover accidents. PennDOT also has announced a related safety improvement program for other state highways and interstates that will add high tension cable median barriers on seven sections of road.

The purpose of cable barriers is to prevent out of control vehicles from crossing the median and hitting other vehicles.

Our View

Crossover accidents may not be the most common, but they are among the most deadly. When a driver loses control for whatever reason – drowsiness and medical emergencies are the most common – the resulting accident can be fatal. This is even more true when the out of control vehicle is an 80,000 pound truck.

Statistics tell us that there were 366 fatal head on crashes in 2003, with many of these due to a driver crossing over the median and hitting another vehicle.

Our Virginia personal injury attorneys know how devastating head on collisions with trucks can be. For that reason, we support the state of Pennsylvania adding cable barriers where appropriate on interstates and state highways to prevent these dangerous accidents.

When a driver is negligent and causes a crossover accident, he or she could be held liable in civil court. A personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate for the injured or the surviving family to recover financial damages. It is common for drivers to fall asleep and cross over and hit other vehicles. Even in a medical emergency, it is possible for the driver to be found negligent and responsible for compensating the accident victims. Some drivers are aware of their medical condition but do not do what they should to keep the medical condition under control.