Personal Injury Lawyers
Philadelphia and Bucks County

Driver Pleads Guilty in Accident That Kills PA Turnpike Worker

Jul 2013
Toward the end of June, a Pennsylvania man pled guilty to a felony charge of causing an accident involving death or personal injury while not properly licensed. The guilty plea arose from an accident last October when the 35-year-old man was driving a moving and storage van while his license was suspended. The driver drove the van onto the shoulder of the highway and a turnpike worker was killed.

Our Philadelphia accident lawyers know that maintenance workers and others who work on the highways are at great risk of becoming involved in a traffic accident and losing their lives. Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear” laws aim to prevent this type of tragedy, but not everyone obeys these laws.

Steer Clear Laws Could Help to Prevent Worker Deaths

According to CBS Local Philadelphia, the accident that led to the death of the maintenance worker occurred when the moving and storage van left the highway and hit a maintenance truck. The worker, who was 66-years-old, was pinned against the guardrail when the impact from the van forced the maintenance truck into the guardrail.

The prosecutor who was assigned to the case commented that the incident did appear to have been a tragic accident. Alcohol was not involved, nor were drugs. The driver also did not appear to have been speeding at the time when the crash happened, and there was also no proof that the man was on his cell phone at the time of the wreck. Yet, he was still charged with a crime and faces jail time because he made the choice to drive while his license was suspended.  The driver faces as long as seven years of incarceration.

Sadly, if the driver had obeyed Pennsylvania’s laws, the tragedy might never have happened. In fact, the tragedy might have been avoided not just if the driver had refrained from driving with a suspended license but also if he had followed the “steer clear” laws that are in place.

Steer clear laws – or move over laws as they are called in many states – are designed to protect those who work on highways, turnpikes and other major roadways.  In Pennsylvania, the Department of Transportation indicates that the laws require drivers to move over or slow down when they approach a traffic stop, emergency scene or roadside personnel.

Drivers who do not move over or slow down when they see a worker, law enforcement officer or emergency responder on the side of the road can be fined as much as $250 for their failure.  If a worker is injured, then the driver may have his license suspended for as long as 90 days.

The steer clear law was supposed to protect maintenance workers such as the man who was killed in the tragic accident. Of course, the law can only prevent accidents if drivers obey the rules and make the safety of road workers a priority.

If you are injured in Philadelphia, Bucks County or anywhere in Pennsylvania, contact Flager & Associates. Call us at 1-215-953-5200 for a free case consultation.

Flager & Associates is a Pennsylvania Law Firm. We cover cases across Philadelphia, Yardley, Bristol, Bensalem and Levittown/ Fairless Hills. Most of the cases we cover are auto accidents, slip and fall, and product liability related.

Flager & Associates