Pennsylvania: Interstate 81 Police Reports and Accident Guide

Interstate 81 is a highway that connects Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and New York. It runs northeast for 233 miles through Pennsylvania, from Greencastle, MD to Hallstead, NY, and is used by several thousand drivers every day. Unfortunately, I-81 has a storied history of tragic motor vehicle accidents caused by reckless driving, speeding, poor road and weather conditions, and an ever-growing number of commercial truck accidents.

For daily commuters, deadly collisions, chain-reaction accidents, and fender benders are a daily sight while traveling on this stretch of the interstate. In the past decade, there have been an astounding 6,261 total car accidents across all five states. 98 of those accidents were fatal, resulting in the deaths of 113 people. While more than half of those took place in West Virginia, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that 19 of them occurred along Interstate 81 in Franklin County, PA.

Car accidents can be life-altering. Although the damage to your car is an obvious inconvenience, is it nothing compared to the physical pain and emotional trauma of living with long lasting or even lifelong injuries that happened to you because of someone else’s negligence. 

In addition to these challenges, trying to take on a major insurance company on your own is going to make things worse. Insurance adjusters are well-trained negotiators who are prepared to use your vulnerability and ignorance of the law to their full advantage. Our Pennsylvania Interstate 81 car accident attorneys can help.

Motor vehicle accidents are far and away the leading cause of personal injuries in Pennsylvania. These accidents can also make some of the most complex personal injury claims. If you plan on seeking the maximum amount of financial compensation from your own insurance policy or the at-fault driver, you need the representation of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Pennsylvania I-81 accident attorneys can offer essential guidance during legal proceedings and settlement negotiations.

Our Pennsylvania I-81 Car Accident Lawyers Can Help

If you were seriously injured in a car accident on Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania, our I-81 car accident lawyers are prepared to offer the experienced legal representation that you need. For the best chance at a successful outcome to your claim, you need to get started right away. To find out more about your rights and legal options, call the Pennsylvania I-81 car accident lawyers to schedule your free case review.


Pennsylvania Car Accident Data

Car accidents take place every single day, most of them due to negligence. They can also occur for a number of other reasons, including circumstances that are beyond anyone’s control. When you are involved in a traffic accident, you could sustain serious injuries or worse, such as losing someone you love.  

As the most recent vehicle collision data from Pennsylvania demonstrates, auto accidents are a constant source of injury and death across the state. Every driver needs to use safe driving practices to protect themselves and those around them from catastrophic accidents. 

Statistics from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation show that more than 128,000 car crashes were reported in 2018. Of these, 78,000 caused injuries. Of those who were injured, roughly 4,500 were in serious condition, and 33,500 sustained injuries classified as minor. PennDOT also reported that, in 2018, just over 330 automobile accidents involved at least one driver who was under the influence of alcohol. 

Fatal Car Accident Statistics

Those same data sets also show that fatal injuries cost about $12,203,314 in damages in 2020. On average, the state sees 1.17 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles driven. In that same year, there were 1,190 traffic accidents that resulted in the deaths of 18 bicyclists, 164 motorcyclists, 201 pedestrians, and 136 fatalities relating to commercial trucks. 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 people were killed in collisions caused by distracted driving nationwide in 2017. Even though PennDOT does not have any data specifically associated with distracted driving, it is an important factor to take into account where car accident data is concerned. Every driver needs to keep their focus on the road and be aware of their surroundings in order to prevent fatal car accidents. 


Leading Causes of Pennsylvania Car Accidents

There is a wide range of factors that can contribute to serious car accidents. The factors that are most commonly seen in Pennsylvania are: 

Distracted Driving: In Pennsylvania, texting while operating a vehicle is against the law. Despite this, car accidents caused by drivers texting behind the wheel are extremely common. Other common examples of driving while distracted include: 

  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting vehicle controls such as mirrors and seats
  • Personal grooming
  • Programming GPS 

Speeding: Drivers who are speeding do not have as much time to react to what is happening around them. The injuries caused by speeding accidents are usually more serious than those sustained in non-speeding accidents due to the excess force generated by the increased speed of the vehicle. Speeding accidents are common on Pennsylvania highways, including Interstate 81 and Interstate 84.  

Driving Under the Influence: Drivers who are under the influence need to be held responsible for the damages they cause. If you were in a Pennsylvania car accident caused by a drunk driver, our I-81 car accident lawyers will work with you to ensure you receive full and fair financial compensation for your injuries. 

Reckless Driving: Reckless driving is a major problem and a routine cause of accidents throughout the state. Examples of common reckless driving behaviors include: 

  • Following too closely
  • Disregarding red lights
  • Weaving in and out of traffic 
  • Changing lanes without using a turn indicator
  • Ignoring basic driving laws

Drowsy Driving: Sadly, it is not uncommon for an overly tired driver to nod off behind the wheel and cause an accident. Drowsy driving accidents occur most often on highways late at night and frequently involve long-haul truckers or drivers who are intoxicated.   

Defective Parts: Although the majority of car accidents are the result of driver error, they can sometimes be attributed to a malfunctioning car part or a defect in the vehicle. Defective parts or vehicles include faulty airbags, defective tires, exploding gas tanks, and seat belt failures, to name a few. We can help you file a product liability lawsuit to hold the manufacturer or distributor of the defective part or vehicle liable for your damages. 

If you were injured in a Pennsylvania car accident that was the result of another person’s negligent behavior, you should contact a reputable lawyer to learn about your legal options. A qualified attorney can help make sure that you receive fair financial compensation for your injuries and other damages. 


How to Get a Copy of Your Pennsylvania Crash Report Online

If you were involved in a Pennsylvania car accident, you are going to need a copy of your official police accident report. You can visit Online Crash Report Requests to buy a copy through their website. You can also order a copy by sending the necessary documents along with the appropriate payment to the Crash Reports Unit located in Harrisburg. 

  • Go to Online Crash Report Requests
  • If you have it, you can use your incident number to look up your report 
  • If you do not, you can search for your report using your name and the date of your accident
  • Add your report to your cart (it costs $22) and check out
  • Your report will arrive in your email shortly
How to Get a Copy of Your Pennsylvania Crash Report by Mail
  • Fill out the Application to Obtain Copy of Police Crash Report using the location, time, and date of your accident, your incident number, and any other necessary information
  • Include a $22 payment via money order or certified check made payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • Mail the application and your payment to:

Crash Reports Unit, 

1800 Elmerton Avenue 

Harrisburg, PA 17110

  • Your report will be sent through the mail

If you are having difficulties obtaining a copy of your police accident report, a Pennsylvania Interstate 81 car accident lawyer can help you track one down along with any other documentation you need to pursue a successful injury claim.


Can Just Anyone Request My Police Crash Report?

According to the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, the only people who are authorized to access crash reports filed by the state police are those who were involved in the crash, car insurance companies, lawyers representing clients involved in the crash, and assorted government agencies.


How Soon After My Car Accident Can I Get a Copy of My Report?

Police crash reports are usually available 15 days after the accident occurred. This gives police enough time to draw their conclusions and file the report with PENNDOT’s crash reporting system.


Why Do I Need a Copy of My Pennsylvania Accident Report?

Although your insurance company might take care of this for you, getting a copy of your crash report is just one of the things that needs to happen after being involved in an accident. Accident reports often contain proof of negligence or other important information required for your personal injury claims.


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