Getting into a serious traffic accident is a terrible thing. Having someone die in one must be even worse. Imagine the pain and mental anguish that these things cause. But like it or not the fact is that traffic accidents and fatalities are, well, a fact of life.
According to current statistics, car accidents kill over 1 million people annually in the U.S. Even worse, motor vehicle accidents are believed to be responsible for 40 million injuries annually. In Luzerne county in 2005 which is the latest year for which these grim statistics were complied there were 48 deaths in car crashes, 1,595 accidents with injuries and a total of 3,089 crashes of any sort. So obviously anything we can do to decrease those numbers is a good thing. Well, almost anything. Taking a four lane highway down to two lanes would be an exception.
Route 115 has been the site of several horrific grinding crashes lately. The road is steep, and winding but other roads are worse. The problem, everyone agrees, is speed kills. Penn Dot lowered the speed on 115 to 45 MPH. Strangely enough that didn’t stop anything. Of course the fact that speed limits in PA are only a suggestion and not typically enforced might be part of the problem. Try going the speed limit on Rt. 115. You will quickly become an obstacle. If you persist particularly in the left lane you will get the middle finger salute and a gentle horn blast or three.
So without consulting anyone Penn Dot will apply brute force to the problem and make it two lanes from four. Well that certainly will slow things down. In winter when the tractor trailers get stuck sideways it will bring it to a complete standstill. The road The narrowing project will consume nearly $100,000 of guess whose tax money? Just a thought here. What if the State Police patrolled that section of highway vigorously for a year? Just to try and see if handing out tickets continuously 24/7/365 would slow things down.
First of all it would probably work. Secondly and more important the amount of fines collected would no doubt more than pay for the extra patrols and over the course of the experimental year fund the proposed lane reduction. I am willing to bet if my plan is tried the lanes will remain as is and the State Police will continue to rake in the dough. Speeding is a bad thing. But taking roads that cost tons of cash to make wider, narrower, just doesn’t seem to make sense. Oh and by the way. If you really want to rack up some speeding fines, patrol the Cross Valley Superspeedway.