On the evening of Thursday, October 29th, six persons were injured during a rear-end collision involving a prison transport vehicle on Highway 50 in Moniteau County. A Morgan County Jail transport van was reportedly struck from behind while stopped in traffic near Norgrass Road by a Hyundai Accent. The driver of the Accent sustained moderate injuries and was transported to the University Hospital in Columbia for medical treatment. The driver of the van and four of the inmates being transported were also injured and were taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City.
According to the National Safety Council, more than 2.5 million rear-end collisions are reported throughout the U.S. each year, which makes them the most common type of collision that occurs on the roadways. Furthermore, approximately 20% of persons involved in rear-end collisions experience whiplash injury symptoms.
Due to the commonality of these types of accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has researched ways to prevent them at length, and it has called for the standard implementation of collision-avoidance systems in new cars. These systems, which debuted as prototypes in the mid-1990s, include features like autonomous braking and adaptive headlights and are able to intuitively respond when collisions are likely to occur. The first commercial collision-avoidance system was released by Honda as an upgrade in 2003, and many other auto manufacturers have followed suit. The NTSB reports that as many as 80% of the injuries sustained during rear-end collisions could be prevented by this technology.
Such collision systems are not standard on most vehicles yet, but there are some basic guidelines that can be followed manually to significantly reduce the risk of experiencing a rear-end collision with no additional technology required. The National Safety Council recommends allowing a three-second distance minimum between cars and to extend that distance during times of poor visibility or adverse weather conditions. Another recommendation is to slow gradually to a stop and to activate the turning signal well in advance of any upcoming turns.