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Drivers, passengers escape Virginia truck crash with their lives

If you drive southwest of McLean for about five hours, you will arrive in Pulaski, a town of about 9,000 residents. Much of that trip would likely be spent on the interstate, where the most dangerous vehicles have 18 wheels and outweigh passenger cars by tens of thousands of pounds.

Even a mere moment of distraction or carelessness by a trucker is enough to cause a truck accident. A few days ago, a truck being driven south on Interstate 81 by a North Carolina resident sideswiped another 18-wheeler. Both big rigs ran off the left side of the interstate into the median. The North Carolina truck stopped there, but the sideswiped vehicle went through the median and into the northbound lanes, where it hit five passenger vehicles.

One person in a passenger vehicle was airlifted from the truck accident scene after she sustained serious, though non-life-threatening injuries. Other drivers and passengers suffered only minor injuries, Virginia State Police said.

While no one feels fortunate to be involved in a motor vehicle accident, these people should feel fortunate that they escaped these violent collisions with so little physical damage.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says most commercial truck collisions are driver-related rather than due to vehicle failure or road conditions.

The FMCSA says about 12 percent of big rig crashes are due to "non-performance" issues such as the driver falling asleep or having a medical emergency. More than one quarter (28 percent) of truck accidents are due to failures of "recognition," a category that the federal agency says includes driver distraction and inattention, or a failure to observe traffic conditions.

We do not yet know the cause of the Pulaski crash, but we do know that those who suffer injuries in tractor-trailer accidents can pursue full and fair compensation for all damages with the help of an attorney experienced in personal injury litigation.

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