Truck Accidents on I-81 in Virginia are Common
Interstate 81 carries more tractor-trailers than any other interstate in Virginia. It is also notorious for serious wrecks. Truck accidents on I-81 in Virginia are common. The sheer volume of commercial trucks on the interstate means truck drivers, as well as occupants of smaller vehicles, are often the victims of crashes.
Last month, a passenger in a truck died when two tractor-trailers collided in Rockbridge County. The wreck closed all southbound lanes of I-81 for half a day.
Police said a Peterbilt truck rear-ended a Freightliner close to mile marker 197 near Lexington. The impact sent both trucks off the left side of the interstate.
The driver of the Peterbilt tractor-trailer Caleb Andrew Littlepage, 22, of Perry, Florida was wearing his seat belt. He was transported to a local hospital for injuries received in the crash.
His passenger, Cherone B. Thacker, 30, of Sanford, Florida, was in the sleeper of the truck. He was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene of the crash, reported channel WHSV 3.
Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased passenger after this horrific accident. I-81 is a picturesque road in western Virginia but it has a bad record for wrecks involving tractor trailers.
A report in the Washington Post a few years ago revealed the full extent of the tractor-trailer danger on this highway.
The Post reported one of every four vehicles on the highway is a big rig. On some stretches of I-81 there is nearly one truck for every passenger car, according to figures from the Virginia Department of Transportation. The road has the highest ratio on any of Virginia’s major highways.
I-81 was not designed for this many tractor-trailers. A lot of the trucks on I-81 are traveling long distances across states and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The recent improvement in the economy has put even greater pressure on the highway.
Although I-95 records more crashes in Virginia, the Washington Post analysis of state data shows the death rate for crashes on I-81 was nearly double that of I-95. Interstate 81 sees high volumes of trucks as well as visitors to the Shenandoah Valley and students at Virginia Tech, Washington and Lee, and James Madison University.
I-81 has seen some spectacular and terrible trucking accidents. In April 2018, a Lynchburg truck driver was killed on Interstate 81. The tractor-trailer he was driving rear-ended another semi that slowed down in front of him. Virginia State Police said 67-year-old James Barricks died at the scene close to Marion in Smyth County. The accident occurred in a work zone. The big rig then ran off the roadway and caught fire.
Truck accidents on I-81 are such a major cause for concern, Virginia transportation officials have even discussed building a parallel highway for trucks only.
Although Virginia Department of Transportation continues to carry out piecemeal improvement projects, I-81 remains a dangerous highway choked with big rigs.
If you or a family member has been injured in a tractor-trailer crash on I-81, you should contact our Virginia truck accident injury lawyers as soon as possible. Call (757) 333-3333.