A recent accident in Chambersburg, PA, may seem very much like any other on the surface. However, it illustrates part of the difficulty caused by semi truck accidents, and why such collisions are not only larger but also more complex than more typical roadway accidents.
The accident, which took place on April 11th, happened at Exit 14 in the southbound lanes of I-81. The tractor-trailer flipped over at the exit ramp at 11:04 a.m., blocking multiple lanes of traffic until several hours later. The reason the accident took so long to clear is the reason that people use semi trucks in the first place — it was transporting a large cargo that had to be cleared away first.
In this case, the truck was carrying several tons of newsprint, large rolls of newspaper stock.
Recovery crews had to raise the truck several feet off the ground on hoists so the cargo could be inspected. Then, the massive rolls of newsprint had to be carted away from the accident on tow trucks. Only after the cargo was removed could crews begin to move the truck itself from the highway and allow traffic to resume. As a result, traffic to that exit was blocked until just after 3:00 p.m.
According to a local man, it took over an hour to travel between two exits following the accident.
Semi trucks are almost always carrying very large cargoes, of course. In some cases, these payloads are hazardous materials such as fuel or chemicals of one sort or another. Many tractor trailer accidents can result in the cargo spilling out onto the highway. But even those that do not spill their cargo, often require it to be secured and transported before the wreck of the vehicle can be dealt with and removed, particularly when the cargo is dangerous or flammable. This is part of what makes semi truck accidents so disruptive, and indeed so very dangerous.