So far this year, there have been eight accidents involving tractor-trailers on Route 24, including an accident a week ago that killed 32-year-old Stephanie Picher of Raynham. Speeders blamed for many of the serious accidents on highway
Truck driver Joe Woodard has more than 2 million commercial miles under his belt over his 35-year career, but one road often stands out – Route 24 in Massachusetts, which is “by far one of the most dangerous highways I’ve ever traveled.”
Other drivers – and several recent accidents – back him up.
So far this year, there have been eight accidents involving tractor-trailers on Route 24, including Monday’s accident that killed 32-year-old Stephanie Picher of Raynham.
Since January, the 41-mile road that stretches from Fall River to Randolph has seen rollovers, jackknifes, lost loads and a massive fire after a truck carrying 11,000 gallons of gasoline crashed and caught fire.
“It’s a horror show. It’s terrible,” said Woodard, 58, of Weymouth, who was sitting in his Stop & Shop truck at the service plaza in Bridgewater recently. “There’s nothing that would surprise me out here.”
The roadway has been the scene of dozens of accidents the past two years, prompting a crackdown in the summer of 2012.
But why is it so bad? Woodard said you can’t always blame the road.
Woodard, who has driven all over the country, said motorists drive more aggressively on Route 24 than in other parts of the state, which is a main reason for the accidents.
“Speed is the biggest factor. The cars are speeding down the highway. People aren’t paying attention. They’re texting, they’re talking on their phones. And then they get into a situation where they can’t react fast enough to avoid it,” he said.
Jim Parker, owner of the Parker Professional Driving School in Avon, said he tells his students to be weary of how fast drivers travel on Route 24, which is not a federally designated roadway because of its imperfect design.
“One of our trucks will be doing 55 to 60 and people are going by you like you’re parked,” Parker said. “I think that they travel too fast down Route 24. We explain excessively that you could be the best driver in the world but it’s the people around you.”
Russ Hussey, 59, of Swansea, is not a truck driver and said he drives down Route 24 once or twice a week for work.
“Today (in the afternoon) you could go out there and drive 75 if you want. In the morning or coming home you have to drive 75. You have to drive with the traffic and that’s what the traffic is going,” Hussey said.