New safety technology has failed to halt the rise in rear-end crashes on the road, according to new research by claims management service Accident Exchange.
Rear-end shunts – when one car drives into the back of another – have risen by 7% in the last three years, as a proportion of claims seen by Accident Exchange.
Each accident causes damage costing an average of £2,000 to repair. The majority of rear-end collisions occur at low speeds in urban areas but, overall, constitute over a third of all accidents.
The figure has been rising steadily since 2011, despite the adoption of collision avoidance systems, powerful brakes and ABS systems over the last few years.
While not always standard equipment, Audi, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Skoda, Volvo and others provide systems on new cars which can take action – such as braking – autonomously.
Liz Fisher, Director of Sales Development at Accident Exchange, said:
“There’s no obvious explanation because the nation’s roads are full of safer, more advanced vehicles which, in some cases, are supposed to help a driver to avoid collisions.
“However, it could be argued that increased connectivity in cars means the modern driver has more distractions while at the wheel from other technology, like mobile phones or MP3 players.”
I agree with Liz Fisher’s suggestion that technological distractions are partly at fault for the rise in crashes, but I’d argue that there are is another possible cause, too.
The period from 2011 to the present has coincided with high numbers of ‘crash for cash’ scams, which are typically deliberate rear-end collisions designed to allow the scammers to claim false personal injury damages from the victim’s insurance company.
Under section 126 of the Highway Code, typically if a driver hits another vehicle in the rear, they will be at fault for the incident. Scammers take advantage of this rule by pulling in front of victim’s car and then braking suddenly, forcing a collision. Although the rule includes an exception from fault if the driver in front changes lanes and immediately brakes, or slows down suddenly for no reason, such circumstances can be hard to prove, hence the success of the crash for cash brigade.