IIHS study: Rear-end crashes down 40 percent with collision avoidance

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A new study finds that the use of certain types of collision avoidance systems reduces the risk of rear-end accidents by 40 percent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that rear-end crashes are fairly common. In 2003, the agency found that effective rear-ends crash countermeasures relied on a better understanding of driving behaviors. Since then, technological advances have led to the development of various systems designed to interpret road conditions and, in some instances, take control from the driver to stop the vehicle and avoid an accident.

Debate on the effectiveness of these systems abounds. However, according to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) the use of this technology has reduced rear-end collisions by approximately 40 percent.

More on IIHS findings

More specifically, the use of forward collision warning systems alone reduced rear-end crashes by 23 percent and the use of the system along with autobrake reduced the accidents by 39 percent. The researchers with the study estimate that if all vehicles were equipped with this technology, the number of police-reported rear-end crashes for 2013 would have been reduced by 700,000.

Importance of reducing rear-end crashes

These accidents can come with serious injuries. Some of the more common include:

  • Whiplash. Whiplash is defined by the medical experts with Mayo Clinic as a neck injury that results from the forceful movement of the neck, "like the cracking of a whip." Symptoms include neck pain as well as stiffness and headaches. Recovery can occur after a few months with treatment. Treatment includes the use of medications and rehabilitation. Ongoing complications can result, which may include chronic pain.
  • Head and back injuries. Depending on the severity of the crash, victims may also suffer from additional head and back injuries. The driver or passenger could suffer from a concussion if the head is propelled forward and strikes a window, door, steering wheel, dashboard or other object. Additional damage to the spinal cord could also occur.
  • Other appendages. Legs, arms, hands, noses, almost any portion of the body could be injured in these accidents. The severity and treatment varies depending on the details of the injury.

These broad explanations show how damaging injuries from a rear end crash can be. Victims of these accidents may be eligible to receive compensation to help cover the costs associated with the accident. This can include medical bills, rehabilitation expenses and lost wages. As a result, victims of these accidents are wise to contact an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney to help better ensure their legal rights and any potential remedies are protected.