On Sunday morning, April 28, an elderly Chambersburg woman died while a passenger in a car waiting to turn left into a church parking lot in Antrim Township in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. The Ford Focus was struck from behind by a Honda Accord, which pushed the Focus into the other lane. It then collided head-on into a Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The woman died at the scene of the collision, while all three drivers were hospitalized for related injuries.
Rear-end collisions are common
According to the National Transportation Safety Board or NTSB, between 2012 and 2014, just short of 50% of all collisions involving two vehicles were rear-end accidents. Over 1,700 people died in these crashes each year. A 2007 federal study found that 87% of collisions in which a vehicle struck the rear of another vehicle “involved a driver failing to attend to the traffic ahead,” especially by “improper allocation of visual attention.”
Distracted driving a huge problem
In other words, drivers who may be eating, using phones, reaching for buttons on their dashboards, leaning to pick up something on the floor or doing other kinds of distracting actions while behind the wheel that take the eyes off the road raise the risk of striking a vehicle from behind. This kind of negligence when it causes injury, death or property damage creates legal liability in the negligent or reckless driver and his or her insurer.
According to the study, approximately 64% of drivers involved in rear-end collisions had taken their eyes off the road for over 2 seconds.
The study also noted that daydreaming was a common kind of distraction involved in rear-end accidents.
That study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA, further found that in most of these rear-end incidents, the car in front was slowly moving or stopped.
Interestingly, following the lead vehicle too closely was not a significant factor in rear-end collision risk in most of crashes.
Other factors found to increase the risk of such incidents included:
- Male drivers
- Drivers 25 to 34 years old
- Intersections or ramps
- Commercial or industrial areas
Anyone harmed in a rear-end collision should speak with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after receiving medical attention to understand the legal options for compensation and to begin the investigative process while evidence is still fresh.