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New study highlights just how dangerous a semi truck can be

Many Fairfax County drivers have just one thing on their mind while driving: getting from point A to point B efficiently. Until an accident happens to one personally, it's difficult to think about safety all the time, or to ponder the dangers of other types of vehicles. Nevertheless, the results of a study have recently emerged, reminding Virginia drivers how important safety is when sharing the road with semi trucks.

According to the Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, the miles driven by tractor-trailers make up about 8 percent of miles traversed on America's roadways. However, these same vehicles account for 11 percent of collisions. Moreover, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about three-fourths of those killed in truck accidents were riding in passenger vehicles. About 17 percent of the victims of fatal trucking accidents were occupants of trucks, while another 11 percent were outside vehicles - either bicyclists or pedestrians.

A truck accident, of course, can cause widespread calamity, from serious injuries to fatalities. The NHTSA reports that there is an 80 percent likelihood that a truck crash will involve multiple vehicles, compared to the lower 58 percent chance that accidents involving passenger cars will do the same thing.

Interestingly, even the mere presence of semi trucks on the roads appears to affect the outcomes of crashes. Increases in the numbers of severe wrecks were preceded by a relatively small increase, just one percent, in truck traffic volume, noted the study. Sometimes, the study found, the overall amount of traffic is low but there is a relatively high amount of trucks on the road. Under this condition, deadly collisions are more likely to transpire since the trucks will sometimes increase their speeds, presumably due to fewer passenger cars on the road.

As the study indicates, the presence of a semi truck on the road requires everyone to behave as responsibly as possible. Still, crashes that cause injuries, serious ailments or even death will continue to happen as long as trucks and cars travel together. Often, one's best resource in the event of any type of truck-car collision is an attorney experienced in the resolution of truck accident cases.

Source: AOL Autos, "Trucks more likely to cause fatal crashes, researchers say," Erin Marquis, Dec. 5, 2013

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