The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates more than two million rear-end traffic crashes occur each year throughout the nation, resulting in thousands of injuries and fatalities.
Rear-end collisions make up about one out of three traffic accidents, making them the most frequently occurring type of traffic accident. A portion of these rear-end crashes certainly occurs in the Bronx.
Regardless of location, the causes for rear-end collisions are the same. However, New York City’s boroughs, including the Bronx, are notorious for their heavy traffic. Traffic congestion increases the chances of rear-end crashes for all drivers who share the road. However, all rear-end collisions are preventable and most frequently occur because of careless, aggressive, or inattentive driving.
If you have sustained injuries in a Bronx rear-end collision because of a negligent driver, you should contact an experienced accident attorney for guidance on the best path forward to recover compensation for damages. Until you have the opportunity to meet with a lawyer, this guide provides a closer look at rear-end collisions in the Bronx.
Below, we offer more statistics about rear-end collisions, causes of rear-end crashes in the Bronx, common injuries associated with rear-end collisions, and tips to follow to preserve the value of your Bronx rear-end accident claim. Make sure you understand your legal options and your rights by contacting an experienced Bronx car accident attorney.
Facts About Rear-end Collisions
Federal and state agencies have dedicated resources to study rear-end collisions because they occur so frequently. Research has revealed specific driver demographics and the environment in which rear-end collisions are more likely to occur.
Although the following factoids come from nationwide research, they also apply to rear-end collisions in the Bronx:
- Younger drivers are more likely to rear-end another vehicle, especially those under age 18. As drivers age, the likelihood they will cause a rear-end collision decreases.
- Young male drivers are more likely to cause a rear-end collision than any age group of females.
- Distracted driving leads to more than 85 percent of rear-end crashes throughout the United States.
- Tailgating does not play as significant of a role in rear-end collisions as people think. Most rear drivers maintain a safe following distance.
- Most rear-end crashes occur when the front vehicle is stopped at a traffic light or stop sign, or heavy traffic, making the Bronx’s traffic environment ripe for rear-end crashes.
- Contrary to the belief that rear-end crashes occur in rainy or snowy weather, most rear-end collisions occur in clear weather conditions.
Causes of Bronx Rear-end Collisions
Mechanical breakdowns and inclement weather can contribute to rear-end crashes in the Bronx. Yet, even in these situations, driver negligence is the primary cause of the accident. Common driver behaviors that lead to Bronx rear-end collisions include:
As mentioned above, distracted driving is the leading cause of rear-end collisions in the Bronx, throughout the state, and throughout the nation. New York law prohibits motorists from using handheld electronic devices while driving, but some drivers do not follow the law.
Agencies and organizations that study distracted driving generally agree it includes any manual, visual, or cognitive distraction. Texting and driving fall under the umbrella of all three types of distractions, making it one of the most dangerous driver behaviors.
A quick look at a phone to read a text or respond with a one-word answer can lead to a rear-end crash if the driver does not react fast enough to the vehicle they are following. Texting and driving is especially dangerous in stop-and-go traffic on the Cross Bronx Expressway and other busy highways and streets during New York City rush hour.
Although everyone thinks of cell phones when they think of distracted driving, they are, by far, not the only distracted driving behavior that leads to rear-end traffic collisions.
Other driving distractions include:
- Adjusting heat, A/C, seats, or other vehicle features
- Helping passengers in the back seat, especially children
- Reaching for a dropped item on the floor
- Heavy discussions or arguments with occupants
- Personal grooming, such as putting on makeup, brushing hair, or plucking eyebrows
- Watching an accident or another event outside the vehicle
Distractions prevent drivers from reacting swiftly and appropriately to the vehicle in front of them, especially at a stop sign, stoplight, or in heavy Bronx traffic.
Driving over the posted limit or too fast for weather or road conditions is not always the direct cause of a Bronx rear-end collision, but speeding does play a role in many of these crashes. The NHTSA warns of the dangers of speeding, but two elements of speed increase the chances of a rear-end crash.
First, drivers more easily lose control of their vehicles when speeding, so even those trying to avoid a collision cannot do so.
Second, as speed increases, so does the amount of stopping distance a vehicle needs to slow or come to a complete stop, also making it difficult to avoid collisions if a driver puts on the brakes too late.
It’s difficult to speed excessively when heavy traffic is present in the Bronx, but drivers who speed when they can have a higher risk of losing control of their vehicle and crashing into the car in front of them.
Poorly Maintained Vehicles
Millions of vehicles travel in the Bronx and around New York City each year. Not all of them are maintained properly. Drivers who do not properly maintain their vehicles create conditions for severe traffic accidents.
Poor brake maintenance is the most common mechanical issue that can lead to a rear-end collision. Sometimes a driver might have defective brake pads or another defective part within their brake system. However, most brake system issues happen because negligent vehicle owners fail to inspect, fix, and replace pads, rotors, fluid, and other components.
When brakes malfunction, drivers cannot stop at stoplights or in heavy traffic, likely leading to a rear-end collision. Trucking companies that do not maintain their trucks put Bronx drivers at higher risk for injury or death. When a semi-truck rear-ends a passenger vehicle, the consequences are catastrophic.
The dangers of drunk driving are well-known; yet, plenty of people get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Whether Bronx residents stop for a drink on the way home from work or choose to drive instead of using public transportation to live it up for a night in Manhattan, they put others at risk for accidents.
Alcohol impairs a driver’s ability to process information and react to other vehicles. Even if a drunk driver sees a stoplight or notices a car slowing or stopping in front of him, he might not be able to stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision.
The Bronx is home to five industrial business zones that include companies involved in construction, film production, manufacturing, and transportation. These industries have ample shift workers and employees who work long hours or non-traditional hours.
Drowsy drivers who get behind the wheel after going without sleep for 18 hours experience the same level of impairment as a legally drunk driver at a 0.08 breath alcohol level. This makes it more likely that a driver is unable to react. Also, drowsy drivers risk falling asleep at the wheel, even if only for a few seconds, which is a surefire way to cause a rear-end collision.
Injuries Specific to Rear-end Collisions
Being involved in a traffic crash can lead to various injuries. However, certain types of accidents increase the likelihood of certain types of injuries. Drivers and occupants who have been struck by another driver in a rear-end collision often face specific types of injuries.
The severity of these injuries depends on the speed the vehicle was going when it struck the lead vehicle, where someone was seated in the vehicle, and whether they wore their seatbelt. Examples of injuries often associated with rear-end crashes include:
Soft Tissue Injuries
Muscles, ligaments, and tendons make up the soft tissue in the human body. When someone suffers the trauma of a rear-end collision, their body moves rapidly back and forth. More speed increases the impact of the crash and leads to stronger movements.
Depending on the situation, some might tear soft tissue when it stretches too far. Seatbelts restrict movement in the torso, but accident victims still face soft tissue injuries in the neck. Sprains and strains are the most common soft tissue injuries, and fortunately, they heal quickly with rest and mobilization.
More severe injuries and tears sometimes create lifelong challenges with movement and discomfort. Additionally, severe soft tissue injuries often require surgery.
Neck and Back Injuries
Many Bronx rear-end accident injuries occur in the neck and back. People can experience soft tissue injuries along their spinal column, but the damage is far worse than a sprain or strain in severe accidents.
The rapid movement can fracture vertebrae, cause herniated discs, and sometimes lead to a paralyzing spinal cord injury. Regardless of the exact location of an injury along the spinal column, many accident victims who sustain a neck or back injury must cope with chronic pain for life. Surgery might mitigate some discomfort but often does not eliminate it.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The same back-and-forth motion that causes neck and back injuries during a rear-end collision also can cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
The movement from the crash causes the brain to move around in the skull, leading to an injury. In severe collisions, a driver or passenger might hit their head on the steering wheel or the seat in front of them and suffer a direct head trauma that leads to a traumatic brain injury.
TBIs come with various symptoms, some of which last for life. Victims often struggle with cognitive function, motor function, senses, communication, and behavior. The exact symptoms and challenges depend on the location of the injury in the brain and the severity of the TBI. In the most severe accidents, a TBI victim can leave someone in a permanent vegetative state or coma.
Protecting Your Bronx Rear-end Collision Claim
Under New York law, all residents must purchase a minimum of $50,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) to register a vehicle so they comply with the state’s no-fault insurance laws. Your PIP coverage will take care of minor injuries from a Bronx rear-end collision no matter who caused the accident.
More severe accidents quickly meet or exceed the minimum amount and require accident victims to take further action to receive compensation for their injuries.
The at-fault driver and his insurance carrier will do what they can to avoid financial liability for the rear-end collision and injuries. Hence, you need to take steps in the wake of the accident to give you the best chance of recovering damages.
These guidelines and tips help protect the value of your Bronx rear-end collision claim.
- Head to the nearest Bronx emergency room, whether at NYC Health or another facility. It’s possible you only feel a little sore after a rear-end collision, but some injuries are hidden. If left untreated, you risk doing more damage. A doctor can check you out for common injuries and advise you on proper treatment.
- Report your accident to your PIP insurance provider as soon as possible to ensure you get your benefits in a timely fashion. Failure to report your Bronx rear-end collision quickly could result in denying a claim and might give the other side ammunition to fight your claim.
- Contact an experienced Bronx rear-end accident attorney who can guide you on the right course in the wake of your accident.
- Only speak to your lawyer about your Bronx rear-end collision and injuries. Well-meaning friends and family will want details, but they might accidentally share something with an insurance adjuster. It’s best to keep details to yourself until your case is resolved.
- Avoid posting on social media. Even seemingly harmless posts about family vacations, functions, parties, etc., might serve as justification for the other side to try to devalue your claim. Investigators try to get access to claimants’ social media accounts. You do not have to deactivate Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., but avoid personal posts until your claim is settled or litigated.
If you have suffered an injury in a Bronx car accident, make sure you understand your legal options and your rights by contacting an experienced Bronx auto accident attorney.