Motorists find themselves at fault

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Although driving near a large truck is different from driving near a passenger car, many motorists don’t change their behavior to adjust for the differences. That’s the finding of a study released last month by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The study also confirmed earlier studies that the actions of car drivers contribute more to fatal car-truck crashes than do the actions of truck drivers.

According to the AAA Foundation study, which was prepared for the foundation by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, more than half – about 54 percent – of fatal car-truck crashes result from driver error. The most common problems are: failure to keep in 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; and driver inattention.

“Motorists don’t recognize that trucks behave very differently from cars, so they think trucks can stop on a dime and change lanes quickly,” says Peter Kissinger, the AAA Foundation’s CEO. “In reality, trucks take a long time to stop and cannot whip from lane to lane. As a result, a mistake near a truck can have catastrophic consequences for a motorist.”

In response to the foundation’s study, AAA announced today a nationwide campaign to educate drivers about ways to reduce crashes involving cars and trucks. As part of its campaign, AAA is re-launching its “Share With Care” program that offers practical advice to car and truck drivers on ways to avoid truck/car crashes.

A copy of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study is available in PDF format at www.aaafoundation.org/pdf/CarTruck.pdf. A copy of AAA’s Share with Care brochure is available at http://www.aaanewsroom.net/ Files/SharewithCare1.pdf.