Last month, a car merged into the left lane on Interstate 78 East and smashed into a truck hauling a trailer. The truck rolled several times and struck a New Jersey Department of Transportation truck. A passenger was killed, while a separate driver and a passenger both sustained serious injuries in this fatal truck crash.
Not two weeks prior, a truck driver smashed into a bridge abutment on the same stretch of highway. The truck caught fire and the driver was pronounced dead on the scene.
Why is Interstate 78 Dangerous?
There is a 30-mile stretch of Interstate 78 extending up to the Interstate 278 interchange that five people have died on in the last six months. Already, this an increase from the total number of accidents on this road in 2015. From 1997 to 2014, there was a total of 13,336 accidents, 2,029 reported injuries and 99 people who died in crashes on this particular stretch of highway.
NJ.com and lehighvalleylive.com both conducted surveys asking New Jersey residents why they thought this area was a dangerous road and the general consensus includes:
- The South Mountain, Jugtown and Lower Saucon mountain passes force high-speed cars to dodge trucks on the hills
- High-speed exit ramps that lead right into stopped traffic
- Lanes that quickly merge from three to two lanes
- While the speed limit is 65 miles per hour, many vehicles travel at 75 miles per hour
- Distracted driving at high speeds
What Can the New Jersey Department of Transportation Do to Make Interstate 78 Safer?
Interstate 78 allows drivers to pass from Pennsylvania, through New Jersey and into New York City. That said, the road is very important in connecting commuters. However, there are some changes that need to be made in order to reduce the number of fatal accidents.
High speeds seem to be a huge risk factor when driving on that road, but could be avoided by reducing highway speeds and increasing police enforcement. Additionally, more signage placed along exit ramps and the three main mountain passes could also help reduce the likelihood of fatal car crashes.
Spevack Law Firm is a New Jersey personal injury law firm that fights for victims injured in a truck crash.