Every year, thousands of children are killed or seriously injured in backover accidents. These are accidents that occur when reversing driver fails to see a child in their path and strikes or runs over them with a vehicle. Though most don’t think of this type of collision as common, every week in America there are more than fifty back over accidents involving children, leading to hundreds of fatalities occur each year.
In most of these accidents, a parent or family member is behind the wheel. Half of the victims are under the age of five with the average being 18 months. Looking for a lost pet, reaching for something they lost under the car, or playing a game of hide and seek: these were some of their last moments of the victims of backover collisions.
The Blind Zone
Though some feel sympathy for the drivers involved in these types of collisions, many wonder how a driver could be so careless as to run over a child. Did they not looking behind them before they began to reverse? Perhaps they are simply careless drivers who stay on their cell phones? Research says that it isn’t the case. In fact, research by the NHTSA sites that It isn’t carelessness or distractibility that causes back over accidents but instead, the culprit is failure to see that the child has entered an area called the blind zone.
Also called a “blind spot,” the blind zone is the area behind a vehicle’s rear bumper that a driver can’t see from inside of their car or truck. Though every vehicle has one, blind zones aren’t necessarily created equal. Small cars and hatchbacks have shorter blind zones while trucks have the longest. Visibility in SUVS and pickups (the most common back over involved vehicles) vary, but they are overrepresented in these types of accidents.
So how then, can we stop similar backover accidents? After all, drivers can’t redesign their cars to improve visibility. This is where automakers are stepping in.
What is Being Done?
Although rearview camera systems have been optional for many years, automakers are now beginning to make rearview camera systems standard equipment for all new models.
Starting in May 2018, the NHTSA mandate will go into effect, requiring all new vehicles to be sold with rear camera systems.
In essence, camera systems will transition from giving parking assistance to a safety feature. Parents of backup accident fatalities have been a vital part of this push, carrying their children’s memory with them as they try to stop more young people from meeting a similar fate.
What Can Drivers Do?
The best thing drivers can do to reduce the risk of a backover accident is to buy a vehicle with a rear camera. But there are other proactive steps that can be taken as well.
- Always walk around your vehicle before backing up.
- Check mirrors and back out slowly.
- Roll down your windows so that you can hear your surroundings.
- Supervise children in and around vehicles.
- Teach children not to play around cars and trucks (and start early!)
- Be proactive and careful when backing up, even if you have a backup-camera.
At Orlando Auto Body, we are always here to help with any collision related needs. But because we see our customers as family, our goal is to help you avoid a collision before it happens. Click here learn more about how to avoid backover accidents.