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December 22, 2010

How Receiver Hitches Affect Rear End Collision Injuries

Hitch1 Today, roughly 40% of the vehicles on the highway today have receiver hitches – and although they are great for towing – they HIDE rear end collision damage and INCREASE the chance of whiplash by creating a stiff “crash pulse” when hit from the rear.

Low impact crash cases are becoming increasingly more complex and harder to prove.  The old adage from the insurance company – no damage, no claim - is difficult to litigate.

For those of you who are not familiar with the towing industry the “receiver hitch” is the part of a towing package that is bolted to the rear frame of the vehicle.  Typically they are found on pickup trucks and larger SUVs but can be mounted on most any vehicle capable of towing.  They can be rated from a Class I to a Class V type depending on the kind of weight you will be towing.  Class 1 hitches being the kind that would tow less than the Class V type.  The typical Class V hitch can tow trailers up to 10,000 pounds or more.

Hitch2 A “ball mount” or “tow bar” is the part that slides into the receiver hitch and allows you to tow the trailer.  Ball mounts can be fitted with a 1 7/8”, 2” or 2 5/16” ball for towing.  Sometimes other types of ball mounts like the “Pintle hitch” can be used instead of the typical ball mount. 

Receiver hitches have been shown to take impacts up to 5 mph – with the vehicle sustaining NO damage.  The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) now removes all receiver hitches when they do their rear bumper testing.  Why, because receiver hitches prevent damage to the rear of a vehicle and in order to get a fair comparison of bumper performance they remove them before they do any rear crash tests.

Knowing How Receiver Hitches Effect Rear End Collisions Will Help You Litigate Low Speed / Impact Collision Cases.

In a rear end collision involving a vehicle equipped with a receiver hitch, the crash energy is transferred directly the frame of the “target” vehicle.  It has been shown that the occupants of the target vehicle will move forward at 2.5 times (or more) then that of the “bullet” vehicle.  So a small 5 mph impact will send the occupants of the target vehicle flying forward at 12 – 13 mph – certainly enough force to hurt people.  This change in acceleration or “Delta V” is what influences whiplash.

If you have clients who have been rear ended, the first question you should ask is:  Do you have a vehicle with a receiver hitch?

Here are some interesting rear end collision facts:
  • 75% of all rear end collisions are less than 10 mph and 95% are less than 25 mph.
  • On frame railed vehicles like pickup trucks, auto manufacturers don't want any “global buckling of the frame” at speeds less than 35 mph.
  • 48% of the people that hit you in the rear – are not slowing down.
  • The Federal Bumper Standard requiring 2.5 mph bumpers (used to be 5 mph) only applies to passenger cars.  Pickup trucks, SUVs and Mini Vans have NO Federal Bumper Standards.
  • Low speed rear end collisions (less than 10 mph) accentuate the whiplash more than high speed ones.
  • 80% of all rear end collisions are caused by driver inattention.
  •  The acceleration of the occupant when hit from the rear is 2.5 times that of the bullet vehicle.
  • 94% of all rear end collisions occur on straight roads.
  • Women are twice as likely to end up with a whiplash injury as a man.

To win low speed rear end collision cases here are some:

Receiver Hitch Secrets That You Need To Know About…

  • How A Receiver Hitch Affects Whiplash.
  • A Ball Mount In Your Receiver Hitch Will INCREASE Your Chance Of Whiplash By 22% If You Are Hit In The Rear.
  • Products Like Ball Mounts, Tow Bars, Bike Racks, Cargo Carriers and Hitch Steps Add To The Affect Of Whiplash.
  • How Rear End Collisions Affect Occupant Acceleration.
  • How Much Force Can A Receiver Hitch Take And How It Affects Vehicle Damage.
  • Why Accessing Rear End Damage On A Vehicle With A Receiver Hitch Has No Bearing On Occupant Injuries. 
  • How Over-Ride And Under-Ride Affect Whiplash.

It is difficult to find information on this subject for one main reason – nobody wants you to know about it.  And, with almost half of the vehicles on the highway today with a receiver hitch, you cannot afford not to know.

About the author:

Jeff Mohr is CEO of Mohr Mfg and is an expert in rear end collisions - especially those associated with ball mounts and receiver hitches. His company makes patented, portable, crash tested, energy absorbing rear safety under-ride guards for pickup trucks and SUVs.  These spare bumpers, ball mounts, hitch steps, and bumper shields soften the “crash pulse” to prevent whiplash and reduce rear end collision damage caused by Tailgaters, Uninsured Motorists, Bumper To Bumper Traffic, Distracted Drivers, Inattentive Cell Phone Users, Drivers With Poor Judgment, Text Messengers And Lousy, Stinking Parallel Parkers.  For more information Call 800-852-6752: Email: or visit their “Attorneys Only” section of their web page located on

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