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PMTA helps launch I-81 Crash Reduction Initiative

PMTA helps launch I-81 Crash Reduction Initiative

Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association (PMTA), joined the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) to announce the launch of a crash reduction initiative on I-81. 

This is a multi-state initiative to discourage the unsafe driving behaviors that are statistically proven to cause crashes. 

I-81 is an 855-mile stretch of highway extending from the Canadian border in New York to Tennessee. The interstate runs through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. It is one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the eastern U.S.  

Between 2018 and 2022, there were over 5,000 crashes on I-81 involving commercial motor vehicles. Pennsylvania had the second-most crashes with over 1,605. The most crashes occurred from Scranton south to Hazleton and around the Harrisburg area.

The USDOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is working with law enforcement, including PSP, to conduct extra patrols and engage in education efforts. 

The education piece is focused on teaching drivers of passenger cars how to drive safely around commercial motor vehicles. 

Listed below are the reminders and calls to action the involved agencies are sharing. 

For commercial motor vehicle drivers:

·         All vehicles must share the road safely.

·         Always obey all traffic laws: Wear your seatbelt, obey the speed limit, slow for work zones, and don’t drive distracted. Unsafe driving behaviors can lead to crashes and fatalities.

·         Make sure your vehicle is in safe working order, and follow all regulations regarding hours of service, medical certification, and CMV credentialing and driver licensing.

·         Additional tips for commercial motor vehicle drivers can be found at FMCSA’s website here.

For passenger vehicle drivers:

·         Obey the speed limit on I-81 and wear your seatbelt.

·         Never drive distracted or impaired.

·         When driving around large trucks and buses, be patient and leave more space.

·         Drivers of large trucks and buses have natural blind spots: Don’t cut off commercial motor vehicles or drive on the left or right side of them for a long period of time.

·         Big trucks take 40% more space to stop: Don’t follow commercial motor vehicles too closely or merge or make sudden stops directly in front of them.

·         Additional tips for motorists can be found at FMCSA’s Our Roads, Our Safety website.

PA Road Team member Bob Dolan spoke about his career driving I-81. He used the Road Team trailer to demonstrate blind spots on trucks and encouraged drivers to be mindful around truck drivers on the road. 

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