Rear-ending is something that always comes up in /. discussions about driving, especially by US drivers (the site is rather US centric). Everyone and their dog seem to have been in at least one such accident. I have never been in such an accident, nor have I heard of any European friends that had such an accident.
Add to that, statistics show that US drivers have far more accidents, injuries and deaths per distance (per km or per mile, whatever you like to use) than European drivers, especially those from western European countries. This while US streets are wider and straighter; quite some Americans are scared stiff by our narrow, winding roads - we're routinely doing things like driving 80 km/hr (the legal limit) on country roads, and not slowing down for oncoming traffic while the road is so narrow there's not even a line in the middle... because the road simply is plenty wide enough for two cars.
Much stricter driving training does help a lot.
Here's a picture of my (now dead) Subaru with an annotation of the previous four accidents, all of which involved being rear-ended, 75% of which involved being rear-ended while I was at a stop, at a stoplight, with cars in front of me. In two of the cases I was watching the person driving getting closer and closer, while honking my horn, which she couldn't hear (both times a she) because she was talking on her phone. I am pretty sure most of the people who hit me could have passed driving tests, because then they wouldn't've been talking on their phones, so I'm not sure that's a fix. (It's one I'd love, but it's not enough.) I don't have a picture of the time I nearly was killed in the same sort of accident: roadway at a stop, with big signs up saying "accident ahead: detour", and I came to a complete stop like everyone else, and the semi truck driver behind me never even slowed down, so he hit me at well over 100kph. (Yay subaru station wagons: extra crumple zones, in that case, two meters of crumple zone.) He was adjusting his radio when he hit me -- which, again, a driving test probably wouldn't catch.
Oh by the way that blue Subaru got rear-ended a fifth time by a pickup and that time it was totaled. I dunno what the pickup driver was doing to not notice me sitting at a red stoplight.