State police issue 2K citations to commercial drivers during storms |
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Jeff Himler

Pennsylvania State Police issued 2,065 citations and 295 written warnings to commercial vehicle drivers who ignored emergency traffic restrictions on several major roadways during three recent winter storms.

State troopers also responded to 31 crashes involving commercial vehicles on roads where restrictions on such vehicles and a reduced speed limit of 45 mph were in place as the storms coated surfaces with snow and ice.

State transportation officials implemented a full ban on all commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers and buses, on large sections of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and many interstates during a storm on Jan. 19-20. A phased series of full commercial vehicle bans, along with partial bans covering several types of large trucks, recreational vehicles and vehicles hauling trailers, followed on Feb. 12, when another storm affected travel on the turnpike and numerous interstates.

Troopers issued 993 citations and 222 warnings and responded to six commercial vehicle crashes related to the January traffic restrictions. February’s storm resulted in 827 citations and 59 warnings while police were called to 17 crashes involving commercial vehicles in restricted areas.

State police noted enforcement wasn’t as extensive during this past Sunday’s storm, when commercial vehicle restrictions occurred on fewer miles of road in the central and eastern sections of the state. That was reflected in generally lower traffic incident numbers — 245 citations, 14 warnings and eight commercial vehicle wrecks on restricted roads.

A citation for failing to heed travel restrictions during a state of emergency in Pennsylvania carries a potential fine of $300 plus court costs.

State police work with PennDOT, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency to “appropriately restrict roadways in an effort to reduce commercial vehicle crashes and prevent injuries,” said Major James Basinger, director of the state police Bureau of Patrol.

During the three recent storms, state troopers responded to a combined total of 79 commercial vehicle crashes, nine of which involved injuries.

During a single earlier storm, on Nov. 15-16, no traffic restrictions were imposed — and troopers were called to 97 commercial vehicle wrecks, 14 involving injuries.

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