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Height mismatch contributes to truck accident fatalities

Many drivers in Massachusetts instinctively know that accidents involving a truck or a large commercial vehicle often cause serious injuries or death. The size and weight of a large truck can simply overwhelm a passenger vehicle. A new report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms that common belief.

The study, which measured truck accident data from 2002 to 2010, found that efforts to reduce the number of deaths in crashes between cars and pickups have been unsuccessful. Fatalities in cars hit by pickups actually increased by 5% in that time period.

The fatalities may be caused by the height mismatch between cars and trucks. NHTSA has new technology that measures whether the forces from trucks strike higher than prescribed in routine crash tests.

Although many automakers have voluntarily agreed to address the height mismatch, none is required to prove compliance. Previous efforts by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers to lobby for a federal rule adopting the car-truck crash standard were also unsuccessful. The chairman of that committee believes a uniform test would ensure automakers are all complying in the same way.

If you have a loved one who was killed in a motor vehicle accident, you should investigate all possible causes of the tragedy. An attorney can work with accident reconstruction specialists, independent investigators, medical experts and economic experts to establish the true value of your case and determine which parties may have been at fault in the crash. An attorney can also help you determine whether a motor vehicle design flaw may have contributed to your injuries. In such event, the manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor or retailer of a defective product may also be liable for damages.

Source: USA Today, "Cars and SUVs less mismatched in crashes; pickups lag," Jayne O'Donnell, June 21, 2012

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