Studies conducted by two Federal agencies reveal sobering facts about rear-end collisions. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that almost half of all two-vehicle collisions were rear-end crashes which resulted in the deaths of more than 1700 people each year¹. Many of the crashes analyzed by the NTSB involved one or more commercial motor vehicles (CMV). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered that 87 percent of rear-end crashes involved a driver failing to properly respond to the traffic conditions ahead¹.
Prevention of rear-end crashes depends on drivers making sound, well-planned decisions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recommends that professional truck drivers faithfully practice the following safe driving principles:
- Maintain a safe following distance since large trucks take much longer to stop than passenger cars. One of the most common crash types is when a CMV strikes the vehicle in front of them²
- Double the following distance in adverse conditions including inclement weather, poor road conditions, low visibility and heavy traffic²
- Avoid distractions outside of the vehicle including billboards, buildings and people³
- Do not text or use a handheld electronic device while driving including cell phones, tablets or dispatch devices³
- Do not read or write while driving including using paper maps³
- Do not eat or drink while driving³
In addition to observing safe-driving practices, both the NTSB and the NHTSA strongly advocate for the use of available technologies which have proven to be very effective at eliminating or mitigating rear-end crashes. Specific technologies include collision warning systems and autonomous emergency braking. The NTSB further recommends that CMV fleet owners transition to fleet vehicles equipped with such technologies¹.