Did you know that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not perform rear impact crash ratings? Apparently, NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program has a limited budget and must concentrate its ratings on front and side impact crashes. NHTSA states that the front and side impact accidents make up the majority of serious accidents, but rear impact accidents are the most common type of car accident, comprising of 2.5 million accidents per year.
On the other hand, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) does test vehicles for rear-end collisions. While deaths from rear-end crashes are relatively low, rear crashes are one of the most common causes for neck injuries commonly known as whiplash and, as a result, the IIHS feels it’s important to study them.
On a car, the rear bumper system is an important safety feature; however, over the last two decades automakers have developed and installed increasingly less reliable rear bumpers. While a quality rear bumper is capable of compressing upon impact and absorbing the force of a low speed car impact, lower quality bumpers tend to be less absorbent, sending the brunt of the impact to the occupants. Furthermore, rear bumpers are designed to handle only a five-mile per hour collision when many of these accidents occur at much greater speeds. Unfortunately, many of today’s bumpers are designed more to protect the car rather than the occupants.
Though rear impact collisions do not carry as many death cases as frontal or side impact collisions, they can be very traumatic and cause serious injuries. Many people who have suffered injuries due to a rear impact collision have sustained injuries that last a lifetime.
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