Swiftwater, Monroe County - Tractor trailer crashes are on the rise through the Poconos. Even though Interstate 80 is a designated safety area with increased fines, drivers are still being wreckless.
Jess Irish of Stroudsburg said she gets nervous when it is time to merge onto I 80 in the Stroudsburg area. She noted, "I'm worried about how much traffic is going to be on there and how many people aren't going to move over so I can get on."
Then, there's navigating the construction zones and hoping to avoid distracted drivers. Lawrence Scalone of East Stroudsburg complained, "People driving text a lot. People go way faster than they need to, even in traffic jams."
This week, two separate tractor trailer crashes tied up traffic for hours. Pennsylvania State Police Trooper David Peters said, "Any small room of error can lead to a tragic event."
Peters told Eyewitness News Troopers are trying to make a difference. In August and September State Police issued 1,400 warnings on I-80 through the Poconos. That's more than five times as many last year during the same time. Peters added, "We have guys that are out there constantly doing enforcement for speed or any other traffic violations."
The effort may have helped reduce car crashes. Car crashes averaged about one a day last year. This year, it's closer to one car crash every other day. Irish said, "You have to be aware of how people drive around here."
Tractor Trailer crashes increased though. All of last year there were eleven. And this year there have already been 18. State Police are trying to slow trucks down. Peters said, "We have our motor carrier enforcement units. We have guys here that are trained to deal with trucks."
Trooper Peters noted people have to start taking personal responsibility. He said, "People just need to pay attention to what they are doing. You know, we got texting and driving, you got the radio too loud, you got a pet running loose in there, you're yelling at the kids."
There is a Safe 80 Task Force in Monroe County. It meets quarterly to try to find solutions. The next meeting is December 21.