Safe Pennsylvania Driver Tips: Reporting Erratic Truck Drivers

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

Large Truck Accidents on the Rise

A recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration study on trucking accidents revealed that a truck driver’s action or inaction while driving causes more accidents than weather, road conditions or vehicle performance. If you were to encounter an erratic truck driver while driving on a Pennsylvania roadway would you know what to do? Would you know if it is a good idea to report the truck driver? Would you know whom to call, when to call and the proper information to give authorities?

Learn to Recognize Reckless Driving Behavior

There are many documented reasons why a truck driver may be driving recklessly: use of prescription drugs or alcohol, speeding, fatigue, inattention, distractions, cell phone usage, work environment and unfamiliarity with the road are some examples. The most likely reason for truck driver accidents is sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can cause a truck driver to fall asleep at the wheel, lose reaction timing, to become inattentive, to panic or freeze in reaction to something he/she needs to respond to on the road. All of these factors can add up to a reckless driver on Pennsylvania highways. A reckless driver can weave in and out of traffic, make dangerous passes, fail to heed warnings of an impending accident, turn improperly, stop abruptly or speed up abruptly and/or ignore known “blind spots.” These are all extremely dangerous behaviors to unsuspecting drivers who share the road with trucks.

What to do when you encounter a reckless truck driver in Pennsylvania

The State of Pennsylvania does not have an aggressive driving reporting hotline like some of its neighboring states. But lack of a hotline does not mean that you cannot report a reckless truck driver while on the Pennsylvania roadways. Pennsylvania Department of Transportation suggests that you follow the steps below to report an unsafe truck driver:

  • Pull over to a safe location and call 911 or if you have an adult passenger in the car, have them call 911 immediately. Explain that you are reporting an unsafe driver. You will be connected to local law enforcement.
  • Provide local law enforcement with as much information about the truck as possible including: license plate state and number, color of the vehicle, any sign or images on the truck, the direction the truck is headed, the highway on which the truck is traveling, a description of the erratic driving behavior, and if possible, a description of the driver.
  • The dispatcher will ask you for your name. It is your decision whether to provide that information. However, without a witness name, the authorities may not be dispatched.

What to do if you are involved in a truck accident in Pennsylvania

Getting involved and reporting an unsafe truck driver can be the difference in avoiding a horrible truck accident. You definitely want to report a reckless truck driver while driving along highways, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, local roads, etc. If, however, you are involved in a trucking accident, read What Should I Do If I Have Been Injured in a Truck Accident.Keep in mind that Pennsylvania law applies in a variety of instances. In the practice of law, this is called “jurisdiction.” In almost all cases where a Pennsylvania resident is involved in a truck accident in Pennsylvania, our Commonwealth’s laws apply. It may also apply in other instances including:

  • Pennsylvania resident involved in a truck accident in another state
  • Out-of-state resident involved in a truck accident in Pennsylvania
  • Resident of any state involved in a truck accident with a truck or truck owned by a business located in Pennsylvania

If you or someone you know has been injured in a truck accident, it is in your best interest to seek representation from a qualified, Pennsylvania personal injury lawyer familiar with all the nuances of the law.