Rear end collisions are the most common type of auto accident and the least likely to be fatal. However, even a low speed rear end collision can cause serious injuries including whiplash and soft tissue injuries.
Causes of rear end collisions
Speeding, tailgating, and distracted drivers, including cell phone users, are common causes of rear end collisions. Other causes include:
- Defective brakes
- Faulty acceleration systems
- Roadway defects
Traffic cameras increase rear end collisions
Traffic cameras are supposed to reduce accidents, however studies in cities all over the United States show a sharp increase in rear end collisions at intersections with these cameras. A 2005 study of seven cities, conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA), showed a modest 15% increase. Other studies report much higher increases with one study showing an 800% increase.
The cameras generate a significant amount of money in tickets and fines, and cities are reluctant to give them up in favor of safety.
Crashworthiness has nothing to do with how likely a vehicle is to crash. It is a vehicle’s ability to protect occupants during an accident. Defects which lower a vehicle’s crashworthiness in the event of a rear end collision include:
- Inadequate bumpers
- Faulty seats
- Defective airbags
- Defective seatbelts
Rear end collision injuries
While rear end collision are less likely than other types of accident to be fatal, they can cause painful and disabling injuries even at low speeds and with little or no visible damage to the vehicle. Common rear end collision injuries include:
- Brain injury
- Neck injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Back injury
- Soft tissue injuries
- Facial lacerations
Injuries caused by rear end collisions can be difficult or impossible to detect in common medical testing and may not show symptoms for weeks or months after injury. However, the pain and loss of mobility caused by neck and back injuries can cause permanent disability.
Whiplash often results in brain injury. When there is no visible head wound brain injuries may go overlooked and undiagnosed. Rapid acceleration and deceleration forces can stretch and tear the tissues and nerves in the brain and can cause the brain to impact the inside of the skull.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a rear end collision, contact an experienced auto accident attorney today.