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Staged car accidents on the rise in Nevada, report says

Criminals are targeting tractor-trailers in insurance-fraud schemes, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

By James_Tate Mar 18, 2013 12:02PM

Certain idiots in Las Vegas have recently taken a page out of the Russian book of insurance fraud, preying on 18-wheelers to cause rear-end collisions.

There have been as many as 100 suspected staged accidents in the past 12 to 28 months, according to a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Twenty-five of those have involved the big tractor-trailers. Makes you scratch your head, huh?

While a big rig doesn’t sound like something anyone can necessarily “prey” upon, the trick is actually pretty simple: Pull in front of the truck quickly, and -- before it can create the space it needs to brake safely in case of an emergency -- jam on the brakes.


In addition to carrying loads of goods across the country, these big trucks also carry loads of insurance coverage. And we don’t need to explain why an 80,000-pound behemoth lacks the physical ability to stop as quickly as a sedan. After the criminals have been rear-ended, they claim injury and collect the cash – if Joe Trucker doesn’t decide to hop on down with a tire iron and “make things right” himself, that is.


However, these criminals have taken things a step further by filling the fraudulent cars with one of two kinds of passengers – the willing and the unknowing. In either case, the point is to create multiple claims and, thus, more money. Willing participants -- we’ll call them meth-heads for short -- receive a cut of the insurance money and have often been identified at more than one accident scene. The unknowing – well, they’re often immigrant workers who are picked up and told they’re being driven to a job site.


While the police are concerned about insurance fraud, they’re thinking what you’re thinking: Let’s not get anyone killed out there. Trooper Loy Hixson of the Nevada Highway Patrol said that many of the participants have no idea what they’re doing.

“In some cases, we are coming across the same people at different accident scenes," he said in a statement. "They use different cars and different names, but we collect every bit of information, and that’s a red flag that these are willing participants being paid to participate.


There’s huge potential for additional injuries here, including causing more accidents behind or in front of the truck. And what if the truck driver swerved or flipped?  A line of stabbed brakes behind the tractor-trailer could be devastating.


But we digress. This stuff has been happening in Russia for some time, and the simplest solution, short of turning into a total badass, is to buy dash cams and keep them running at all times. If you’re the fleet insurer, or even the fleet owner, just make these little $100 digital insurance policies mandatory, and -- poof! – problem solved.

[Source: NICB]

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