The Vine Street Expressway is one of the major thoroughfares through Center City Philadelphia and is widely known as Interstate 676. However, this road also goes by the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial highway. This highway is heavily traveled by tourists, local motorists, and commercial alike as this road provides access to many major attractions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fairmount Park. It also provides access to Franklin Square and Independence Mall, as well as passing by the Liberty Bell. In addition to providing access to a variety of attractions and parts of the city this road also has several notable major junctions including:
- Interstate 76 and US 30 in Philadelphia
- PA 611 in Philadelphia
- Interstate 95 in Philadelphia
- US 30 in Camden, New Jersey
- Interstate 76 in Gloucester City, New Jersey
A recent accident on the Vine Street Expressway highlights the danger that truck drivers pose. On September 1, 2016, firefighters responding to a two-vehicle crash were injured when a tractor-trailer lost control and slammed into their fire truck. While it was not immediately clear why the driver lost control over their truck, what is apparent is that these accidents are all too common. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries in this accident and all of the five firefighters who were injured in the accident were expected to make a full recovery, other drivers are not as lucky and sustain serious and traumatic injuries.
Common reasons for truck accidents on the Vine Street Expressway
The Vine Street Expressway is one of the most heavily traveled roads in the city, and as a result drivers are sharing the road with not only hundreds of other drivers who are all eager and impatient to get to their destinations but also with large commercial vehicles and tractor-trailers who are just as eager and impatient to get to their delivery points. Some of the most common contributing factors to truck accidents on the Vine Street Expressway include:
- Road Construction – Road construction may seem like an unlikely reason for a truck accident, however, road construction often causes an increase in traffic congestion, and can cause shifting traffic patterns. In addition, when construction is set up it can require a driver to suddenly apply their brakes. However, tractor-trailers do not have the same braking capacity as a standard vehicle. A truck driver who is forced to quickly apply their brakes to accommodate for road construction can lose control of their truck or may be unable to bring their vehicle to a complete stop in time to avoid an accident. In addition, the sudden shift in traffic patterns caused by road construction can cause a driver to lose control of their truck as their vehicles’ size and weight demand that the driver does not make sudden adjustments such as jerking the steering wheel.
- Weather and road conditions – Philadelphia drivers are all-too familiar with poor weather conditions. Snow, ice, and sleet can make driving in the winter extremely dangerous. While drivers should always exercise elevated caution when they are driving in poor weather conditions, truck drivers who do not accommodate for poor weather and road conditions can cause accidents.
- Unsafe Driving Practices – Truck drivers are expected to operate their vehicles as safely as possible, in fact, as part of their licensing they must pass tests and exams and undergo training to make sure that these drivers do not engage in unsafe driving practices such as suddenly shifting lanes, drinking and driving, and texting. However, many truck accidents on the Vine Street Expressway can be attributed to the driver engaging in unsafe driving practices.
There are many other causes of accidents on the Vine Street Expressway, one of which is driver fatigue. Truck drivers have gained a notorious reputation for working exceedingly long hours. When a driver does not get the proper amount of rest, it has been shown to increase the likelihood that they will be in an accident due to poor judgment or even falling asleep behind the wheel.