Federal statistics show rear-end collisions account for nearly 30 percent of all crashes that leave people seriously injured. A wreck on the interstate through York County, Virginia (VA), on the afternoon of May 31, 2022, joined the too-long list of examples.
According to Virginia State Police officials, a box truck slammed into the back of a pickup truck parked on the shoulder of I-64 near Exit 238 to Camp Peary. Troopers told reporters the box truck operator lost control while driving in the far-right lane. This caused the commercial vehicle to run onto the shoulder, where the pickup was parked.
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The drivers of both vehicles suffered serious injuries. No passengers were in either vehicle.
Investigators could not immediately determine why the box truck operator ran off the road. Troopers did indicate, however, indicated their intention to file charges.
Stay in Your Lane Except to Make Space for Disabled Vehicles
The person driving the box truck on I-64 near Camp Peary appears to have made two mistakes. First, they failed to keep their vehicle under control. That always raises risks for crashing and suffering or inflicting injuries. Reasons for failing to maintain control include becoming distracted, experiencing a medical emergency and having mechanical issues.
The police report will clarify the circumstances for the rear-end collision in York County. Depending on the evidence, the box truck driver and their employer could have liability for compensating the person in the parked pickup.
The other problem is that the box truck failed to give space to a disabled motorist.
Virginia law actually requires people to slow down or change lanes while approaching emergency vehicles on the side of the highway. As section 46.2-921.1 of the Virginia Code specifies, drivers “approaching a stationary vehicle that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating … lights” shall take one of the following actions:
- On a highway having at least four lanes, at least two of which are intended for traffic proceeding as the approaching vehicle, proceed with caution and, if reasonable, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, yield the right of way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the stationary vehicle or,
- If changing lanes would be unreasonable or unsafe, proceed with due caution and maintain a safe speed for highway conditions.
This so-called “move over law” applies explicitly to police, fire, rescue and road crew vehicles. Following it when approaching any car, truck or other vehicle stopped on the interstate shoulder will prevent crashes, spare injuries and save lives.