Staged Wrecks Pushing Insurance Rates Up - 8 News NOW

Staged Wrecks Pushing Insurance Rates Up

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LAS VEGAS -- A dangerous trend on state highways is not only putting motorists' lives in danger; it is also driving up insurance costs.

Nevada Highway Patrol troopers said staged wrecks involving cars swerving in front of semitrailers to deliberately get them to rear-end their vehicle is a growing problem.

On Tuesday, NHP and the Nevada Insurance Council filmed a public service announcement at a trucking company to warn drivers about the uptick in insurance fraud.

Trucker Bret Chastain spends most of his time on the road in his 18-wheeler and a lot of time avoiding cars.

"Cars cut us off all the time," he said.

Brett said he wasn't aware of a new kind of insurance fraud involving tractor-trailers and cars.

The culprit driver deliberately swerves in front of the semitrailer to create a rear-end collision.

"You have 60 tons of truck and cargo and if they want to stop in front of a truck and hit them, there's no way that truck's going to stop," Chastain said.

The problem has gotten so bad, state troopers are teaming up with the insurance council to film the public service announcement.

"It's obvious, too," NHP trooper Loy Hixson said. "There will be multiple victims in the car. The incident doesn't seem right to where, why would this accident occur in this area."

Hixson said cutting off an 18-wheeler puts innocent drivers in danger.

"This tractor-trailer could attempt to avoid this staged accident and, of course, there could be other victims involved in this," Hixson said.

But it doesn't end there.

Insurance fraud also costs drivers hundreds of dollars a year, said Michael Geeser of the Nevada Insurance Council.

"All of this drives up the cost of auto insurance," Geeser said. "Commercial insurance, auto repair, medical costs. And it continues to snowball."

Geeser said car-semitrailer insurance fraud has grown 24 percent nationwide since 2008.

For Chastain, it's a situation he said he hopes he never encounters.

The PSA also serves as a warning to those committing the staged crashes: Because a tractor-trailer can't stop as quickly as an ordinary car, it could seriously injure the driver and its passengers.

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