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AAA Warns Drivers on Truck Dangers

July 23, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ A motorists organization is using some stark statistics to encourage drivers to pay special attention around tractor-trailer trucks and other large commercial rigs.

The AAA found that people in passenger vehicles account for 98 percent of the fatalities in car-truck collisions and that in 80 percent of such crashes, the driver of the car was driving dangerously.

Each year, more than 5,000 people are killed and 140,000 injured in crashes between passenger vehicles and large commercial trucks over 10,000 pounds, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Passenger vehicles include cars, pickups, minivans and sport utility vehicles.

The AAA study examined 94 factors that contribute to crashes. It found that 80 percent of passenger vehicle drivers had at least one unsafe driving act identified by police, survivors and witnesses, compared to 27 percent of truck drivers.

AAA said it will focus its public safety campaign on the top five driving behaviors cited, which were involved in 65 percent of the crashes:

_Failure to keep in the lane or running off the road.

_Failure to yield the right of way.

_Driving too fast for conditions or above the speed limit.

_Failure to obey signs and signals.

_Driver inattention.

The same factors also contribute most often to crashes between passenger cars.

Peter Kissinger, president of the AAA foundation, said it makes sense that professionally trained truck drivers would drive more safely, but the campaign will target both car and truck drivers to reduce crashes.

``We are trying to steer the agenda away from who’s at fault, but the main message is to get the entire community to work together,″ he said. ``Car drivers who have voiced concern, in fact fear, about driving around large trucks, can control their destiny.″


On the Net:

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: http://www.aaafoundation.org

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