Vehicle occupants, bicyclists, and pedestrians can experience severe, disabling or even deadly injuries from secondary collisions. A secondary collision refers to any crash event that results from the impact of an initial collision. A common occurrence in Las Vegas and throughout the U.S., secondary collisions are among the most dangerous phases of crashes and frequently result in incapacitating and deadly injuries. A report by the Department of Transportation (DOT) states that approximately 18 percent of crash-related deaths are due to secondary collisions.
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Secondary Collisions Often Equal More Serious Injuries
Researchers analyzed crash data from the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) from 2008 to 2011. They found the likelihood of serious injuries resulting from a crash are considerably higher when secondary collisions occur. More than nine percent of the injuries sustained in secondary collisions are incapacitating or fatal. Most injuries documented in the study fall into the category of possible injuries (45.8%). Minor vehicle crashes can lead to head injuries, back injuries, and other fractures that appear inconsequential at the time of the crash but result in long-term problems. A car accident lawyer can help victims of crashes obtain the medical examinations and tests they need after an accident and advise them of their legal options.
Contributing Factors to Secondary Collisions
The researchers found 13 explanatory variables that contribute to secondary collisions. These variables included not using safety restraints, alcohol or drug use by vehicle occupants, fatigue, vehicle speed, road conditions, and attention level of vehicle occupants. Serious injuries from secondary collisions are also more likely to occur at night. Researchers noted secondary collisions, speed, alcohol or drug use, and distractions like smartphones increase the likelihood of serious injury in any vehicle crash. Many risk factors that were found in the report analysis are easily minimized when drivers follow existing laws and utilize available safety features in vehicles.
High Costs of Vehicle Accidents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that work lost due to motor vehicle crashes cost approximately $33 billion every year. Americans spend about 1 million days in hospitals because of crash injuries. Medical costs for crash-related injuries are about $18 billion annually. Seventy-five percent of medical costs occur within the first 18 months of a crash. Understanding the causes and effects of secondary collisions can help motorists, vehicle manufacturers and safety officials develop and implement effective preventative measures.