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Can Mismatched Vehicle Height Affect Fatality Rates?

A recent report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that correcting the inconsistency in height between cars and trucks will reduce fatality rates related to accidents between cars, small trucks and SUVs.

As evidence, the NHTSA cites the fact that fatality rates related to motor vehicle accidents involving both cars and trucks reduced by eight percent between 2002 and 2010. Additionally, there was a 17 percent decrease in fatality rates in crashes between cars and SUVs. Pickup trucks, however, have been the exception to this promising safety data trend. The fatality rate related to accidents involving pickup trucks and other vehicles has increased by five percent.

Safety advocates have indicated that the reason for this discrepancy in the NHTSA report is the difference in the interpretation of standards related to height disparities between vehicle types. When vehicles of varying heights overlap in a crash, the destruction to one or more parties is often more catastrophic than vehicles which hit each other head-on without overlapping. As a result of this report, the NHTSA is now working to clarify and potentially revise height-related safety standards in order to better protect motorists from catastrophic accidents.

Despite every possible effort by the authorities to reduce accidents, people will still be involved in vehicle accidents. In those cases, victims may claim compensation for personal injury or death. The victim or the victim's family can also claim compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses and other accident-related costs. If you or someone you care about has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your options.

Source: USA Today, "Cars and SUVs less mismatched in crashes; pickups lag," Jayne O'Donnel, June 18, 2012

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