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Study Finds Acceleration in Rear-End Accidents Causes More Serious Injuries

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on August 31, 2011

A study cited by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) found that, even more than speed, acceleration that occurred during a rear-end car crash was more likely to cause serious whiplash injuries to those riding in the rear-ended vehicle.

The study examined 207 different rear-end crashes that had occurred in Sweden over a number of years. Each accident involved vehicles that were equipped with motion sensors, now a common feature in cars, which recorded the speed and direction of travel of each vehicle when the crash occurred. The sensors also measured whether the vehicles were speeding up, slowing down, or traveling at a constant rate of speed at the moment of the accident.

By examining the data, researchers discovered that the risk of severe, life-long whiplash injuries was extremely low in crashes where both vehicles were traveling at a constant rate of speed, especially if the speed was relatively low. However, the risk of permanent head, neck, or spine damage in a rear-end crash rose dramatically if the car coming up from behind was accelerating as it hit the car in front. The greater the rate of acceleration, the more severe and longer-term injuries the occupants of both vehicles suffered, regardless of the speeds involved.

Whiplash can cause serious damage to a person’s head, neck, spine, and shoulders. At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., our experienced Washington whiplash injury attorneys are dedicated to fighting for the rights of those injured in car accidents. We work hard to hold any negligent drivers accountable for their actions so that our clients receive the compensation they need after an accident caused by negligence. To discuss your case, call us today at 888-228-3860 for a free consultation.

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