The prevention of rear-end collisions is an extremely important driving safety issue. Rear-end crashes could cause whiplash and other injuries to occur, and these crashes are often preventable if drivers obey basic safety rules like leaving a sufficient following distance between their car and the car in front of them. Unfortunately, drivers make mistakes and sometimes engage in unsafe behaviors such as tailgating or driving while distracted. When motorists make errors and cause rear-end crashes, permanent injury or even death could be the outcome.
In-vehicle technologies could help to ensure unsafe driving does not cause rear-end crashes. There are several different front crash prevention systems which are installed already in many vehicles and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will soon be moving forward in conjunction with automakers and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to ensure front crash prevention systems are installed in all new cars. This could bring rear-end accident rates down significantly.
Could Technology Actually Impact Rear-End Crash Rates?
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted comprehensive research on the impact front crash prevention systems can have on stopping rear-end crashes from occurring. Motor Trend reported on the research. The study involved comparing the rates of rear-end crashes on vehicle models with crash prevention technologies incorporated versus rates of rear-end crashes on vehicles which did not have the technology included. Data from police reports on crashes was used to assess differing crash rates depending upon whether cars had crash prevention technology included or not.
The research showed there was a dramatic decline in both the number and the severity of rear-end accidents in cars with crash prevention technology. In particular, technologies in which the car braked automatically in an emergency were most effective. Other technologies which detected an impending obstacle and alerted a driver also brought down crash rates, but not by as much.
If the car had an emergency braking system which caused the vehicle to automatically brake, the risk of rear-end crashes was 40 percent lower than in cars without any front crash prevention system incorporated. The injury rate when an emergency braking system was installed was 42 percent lower for those involved in rear-end crashes, compared with injuries in rear collisions with no emergency braking system.
If the car had a warning system in place to alert drivers to an impending crash, the rate of rear-end accidents dropped 23 percent. The rate of injuries sustained in these rear-end crashes, compared with rear-end accidents with no warning system, was six percent lower. If the car had both a warning system and a system which provided emergency braking, the injury rate in rear-end crashes was 47 percent lower than when a car had no such technology in place.
Hopefully, when more cars are equipped with front crash prevention systems, this will mean far fewer rear-end accidents. Drivers, however, are currently responsible and will remain responsible for avoiding behaviors which lead to crashes.