It's a story too familiar to those who regularly drive on Wisconsin's interstate highways: a driver of a passenger vehicle is killed in a truck accident with a tractor-trailer.
The most recent such crash happened late last night on Interstate 94 about 200 miles to the east of La Crosse in Oak Creek. It was there that a man driving a minivan was killed when his vehicle was crushed between two big rigs in a chain-reaction crash.
The two truck drivers were taken to a nearby hospital with injuries not deemed life-threatening.
From initial reports, it appears that a trucker failed to slow for traffic stopped for highway construction.
Was the cause of the late-night crash a trucker too fatigued to be behind the wheel? We just don't know yet. Investigators are in the early stages of trying to figure out what went so horribly wrong.
But we know from years of research by safety advocates and federal agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that tractor-trailers are involved in a disproportionate number of crashes that cause serious injuries and fatalities among motorists in passenger vehicles.
The NHTSA says approximately 12 percent of all traffic fatalities take place in accidents involving large trucks, even though the big rigs only account for four percent of all vehicles.
Of the people killed in truck accidents, only 14 percent were occupants of the big rigs. The rest were occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians or others.
In 2004, 5,190 people were killed in those collisions involving big rigs. Another 116,000 people were injured in the violent wrecks.
Tractor-trailers are large, heavy and difficult to stop. Please drive carefully around them.
Source: Fox News: "One man dead in chain reaction accident involving three semi trucks": June 7, 2011