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Negligent Drivers Cause Rear-End Crashes for Many Reasons

rear end collisionRear-end collisions can cause serious injuries. While not always as devastating as a head-on car accident or a crash with a big rig, passengers of a rear-end collision often suffer from back, neck, and spinal injuries, and even traumatic brain injury, even if the vehicles are traveling at slower speeds.

Unfortunately, rear-end collisions are also quite common. According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these types of crashes were the leading cause of injuries and property damage in 2013, resulting in 503,000 injuries and 1,326,000 property damage-only accidents. Rear-end collisions are also not without fatalities—1,806 in 2013 alone.

Common Causes of Rear-End Wrecks

Drivers are required to maintain a safe distance between their vehicles and those in front of them. Unfortunately, when they fail to do so, a preventable rear-end collision is the result. Reasons negligent drivers violate this basic traffic safety rule include:

  • Distractions. People eat and drink, talk and text on cellphones, and look at GPS while they're driving. While engaged in these distractions, they may not realize they're too close to the vehicle ahead or that it's slowed down or stopped.
  • Speeding. Safe stopping distance depends on a number of factors, including a driver's perception of time, reaction time, and the vehicle's reaction time and braking ability. A motorist traveling at 60 mph needs a braking distance four times greater than if he's traveling at 30 mph.
  • Intoxication. If a driver has consumed alcohol or drugs, his reaction time will be slower, he won't be able to judge the distance between vehicles properly, and he has less control over the vehicle.
  • Drowsiness or fatigue. A fatigued motorist is almost as impaired as an intoxicated motorist. Some studies indicate people awake for 24 hours have the same cognitive deficits as drunk drivers with blood alcohol levels of .10 percent.
  • Tailgating. Drivers who tailgate are often impatient and speeding—behaviors that result in no time to slow down effectively or safely stop in reaction to traffic around him.
  • Weather conditions. Drivers must be alert and responsive to how road or visibility conditions change during inclement weather events such as snow, rain, ice, and fog. When they don’t, they can easily slide into the vehicle in front of them, sometimes causing a multi-vehicle crash.
  • Construction zones. Construction zones are another road condition that requires drivers to reduce their speed and be certain to keep a safe distance. If not, they have nowhere to go in the tight construction zone roadway except into the back of the vehicle in front of them.


If you were injured in a rear-end collision, you may assume that it's easier to settle your claim because the driver behind you is usually at fault. However, these claims can be surprisingly challenging to resolve. Let Alan Morton take this burden off your shoulders so you can focus on recovery. Fill out our online form to schedule your free consultation with Mr. Morton.