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Collision Type

Here at Accident Data Center, our goal is to provide information and resources for people involved in all types of collisions. The manner in which a crash occurs can have significant consequences for the occupants of the vehicles, and also gives insight into the cause of the crash.

Head-on collisions - The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a head-on collision as one where the front end of one vehicle collides with the front end of another vehicle while the two vehicles are traveling in opposite directions. Head-on collisions are an often fatal type of road traffic collision. U.S. statistics show that in 2005, head-on crashes were only 2.% of all crashes, yet accounted for 10.1% of US fatal crashes. From data collected by NHTSA, in 2012, 3561 people were killed in head-on traffic collisions across the nation.

Roadway departures - A roadway departure crash is defined as a non-intersection crash which happens after a vehicle crosses an edge line or a center line, or otherwise leaves the traveled way. Roadway departure crashes are often severe and account for the majority of highway fatalities. In 2011, there were 15,307 fatal roadway departure crashes resulting in 16,948 fatalities, which was 51% of the fatal crashes in the nation, according to the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS). 

Rear-end collisions - According to NHTSA, rear-end crashes are the most frequently occurring type of collision, accounting for approximately 29% of all crashes and resulting in a substantial number of injuries and fatalities each year. Rear-end collisions in which the lead vehicle is stopped or moving very slowly prior to the collision account for the majority of these crashes. In 2012, 1,934 people were killed in rear-end crashes in the U.S.

Side collisions - Sometimes called “t-bone” collisions, side collisions account for about a quarter of passenger vehicle occupant deaths in the United States, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Often these types of crashes occur at controlled intersections. Protecting people in side crashes is difficult because the sides of vehicles have relatively little space to absorb energy and shield occupants, unlike the fronts and rears which have more substantial crumple zones.

Rollover crashes - According to NHTSA, although rollover crashes account for only 3% of vehicles in crashes, they lead to approximately one-third of all occupant deaths, a disproportionately high number. In 2012, there were 6,763 deaths from rollover crashes in the U.S. Rollover crash deaths are often related to a lack of seatbelt usage, resulting in the occupants being ejected from the vehicle during the rollover event.

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