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Dangerous weekend for motorists on I-81 with drowsy and wrong-way driving

James Christopher MunleyA 36-year-old Plymouth man was killed when the Toyota sedan he was driving, collided with a tractor-trailer near the Blackman Street exit of I-81 around 3:45 a.m. on Saturday. The driver of the Toyota was traveling in the wrong direction at a high rate of speed when the accident occurred.

Wrong way driving often results in deadly, high-speed collisions. ABC News reported that wrong way driver accidents are responsible for 1,100 deaths per year. The news organization reported that intoxicated drivers and those over age 80 make up a large percentage of wrong-way drivers and that most wrong way driving accidents occur at night or on the weekends. While cities and states need to work to improve signage on certain roadways, we must also stop drunk driving to help stop wrong-way driving accidents.

Another accident occurred on I-81 in Mahanoy Township late Saturday morning when a 59-year-old woman told police she fell asleep at the wheel, which caused her vehicle to travel off the roadway, strike a barrier gate and then roll over, coming to rest on a grass shoulder.

Drowsy driving is becoming a factor in more accidents each day, and these accidents are often deadly, as seen in high-profile cases such as the Walmart truck accident that killed comedian James McNair and injured comedian Tracy Morgan. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 crashes each year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths.

It’s imperative that we all realize the dangers of drowsy driving and learn how to recognize the warning signs, such as yawning or blinking frequently, drifting from lanes, hitting rumble strips and missing exits. If you are becoming drowsy when driving, it’s important to pull over and rest before an accident occurs.

A third accident occurred late Sunday night on I-81 south, just north of the Main Avenue Exit in Scranton. A car and a tractor-trailer collided injuring one. The cause of the accident has not been released.

In 2012, there were 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks, an 18% increase over the previous year. Of these people injured, 73% were occupants of other vehicles. Large trucks were also more likely to be involved in a fatal multiple-vehicle crash as opposed to a fatal single-vehicle crash than were passenger vehicles.

The large size and weight of tractor-trailers, in addition to the added weight of cargo they may be hauling, can make them a real danger on the roadway. When large trucks are involved in a collision with a smaller vehicle, it often results in serious injuries or fatalities to the occupants of the smaller vehicles.

Passenger car drivers need to be sure to leave enough space between your vehicle and a large truck in front of you, stay alert and pay attention to the road at all times, and stay off the truck’s blind spots.

If you or a family member have been hurt in a crash, contact the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. Our experienced attorneys can help you seek the compensation you deserve for medical care, loss of income, and pain and suffering. Contact us for a free consultation.

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