One dead in single-car crash in Lehigh County

A woman died early Monday morning in a single-vehicle car crash on Route-22 in Whitehall Township. The victim, Jessica M. Rivera, 41, of Allentown, was a front-seat passenger in the accident when the driver, a Scranton man, crashed into a utility pole off Route 22 West, about 0.3 miles west of the Route 145 interchange.

Rivera suffered blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:28 a.m. The driver suffered minor injuries. Neither occupant was wearing a seatbelt.

Impaired driving that results in tragedy

Drowsy driving is a form of impaired driving that is more common than most people realize. Fatigue impairs a driver’s ability to react quickly enough when driving, reduces awareness of potential hazards and lowers the driver’s attention. The drowsier the driver, the greater the fatigue factor.

According to experts, a driver is three times more likely to get into an accident if they are fatigued. Driving more than 20 hours without sleep is like having a blood alcohol level of 0.08, which is the legal limit for intoxication.

Although there are approximately 100,000 reported accidents annually that involve drowsy driving, recent studies estimate the number to be as high as 328,000. Of those, 6,400 were fatal accidents.

Signs to look out for

There are behaviors when someone is behind the wheel that can suggest the driver is fatigued, including:

  • Frequent yawning, nodding off, or difficulty keeping the eyes open
  • Missing road signs or turns
  • Drifting out of a lane or inability to maintain a steady speed

If you or someone you are with is driving when drowsy, it is better to pull over, get out of the car, walk around or maybe even take a nap. Make sure that you check the warning labels of any medications you are taking to see if there are drowsy side effects before getting behind the wheel.

Pennsylvania follows no-fault insurance laws, where, regardless of who is at fault, the injured party cannot file a claim against the at-fault driver. As a result, all drivers must have personal injury protection unless they opt for a full-tort policy. If another driver’s negligence has caused you harm, it is important to know where to turn when working with insurance companies to get the maximum compensation for your injuries.