Capps, Cantwell, Capps & Byrd

Preventing rear-end collisions is a priority for automakers

Rear-end collisions are not the only concern for automakers, there are many other kinds of car crashes. However, rear-enders are very common and can cause severe injuries. Safety innovations continue to improve, and car manufacturers hope that one day they will achieve the goal of zero car crash fatalities.

30 years and counting

It is hard to believe, but a little more than 30 years ago, third brake lights became a reality for American cars. Officially called "Center High Mounted Stop Lamps," they were installed on all vehicles beginning with the 1986 models. Cars today are equipped with many more safety features, including airbags, which effectively dissipate energy so that occupants do not bear the brunt of the impact. Crash avoidance systems, which anticipate impending accidents, are also available on many vehicles.

Addressing rear-end accidents

Rear-end collisions happen daily across our country and account for more than 40 percent of all vehicle crashes. If you are the driver whose vehicle is hit from behind, even at low speed, your body will receive a severe jolt on impact, and the result could be serious injury to your head, neck or spine, among other issues. Today, sophisticated safety features such as automated braking are showing up on many kinds of vehicles and are found to be effective in preventing rear-end crashes.

Tennessee visitors

Lower gas prices have brought more families out for road trips: they may drive instead of fly to a favorite destination. Sometimes that leads them to Tennessee attractions, and sometimes they drive through our state on the way to other vacation spots. In any case, more cars mean more accidents, including rear-end collisions, involving drivers who are not familiar with our roads.

Looking forward

The third light idea worked. A 1995 study by an insurance institute found that between 1986 and 1991, those 1986 models equipped with the Center High Mounted Stop Lamps were involved in five percent fewer rear-end crashes than they would have been without the extra light. New innovations like automatic braking work, too. Safety features help to prevent injuries, and, while it may not happen tomorrow, aspiring to zero car crash fatalities is a worthwhile goal.

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