Lately, there’s been a great deal of concern over children being left in their hot vehicles. We wrote about children and heat-related car deaths here and shared several good safety tips to avoid this from happening.
Another very big problem involving children and vehicles that we’re not hearing too much about is the tragedy of young children being run over by vehicles backing up down the street or from their driveway. Truly unthinkable nightmares for everyone involved and in most cases, accidents that probably could have been avoided.
NHTSA estimates that, on average, 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur each year as a result of back-over crashes. The agency said that children and the elderly are the most common victims. Children are killed in about 44% of such fatal accidents. A third of the fatalities are people over 70. Over the years, we’ve handled a number of these cases. All could have been avoided had everyone involved paid more attention to what was going on.
Because of our experiences in these matters, we think it is a good idea that the federal government require all automobile manufactures install backup cameras in all new vehicles. Owners of older vehicles might want to purchase an after market backup camera to improve safety.
Good backup cameras and related devices are designed to keep drivers from running over pedestrians (including unsuspecting young children) who might be playing or crossing behind a vehicle. The systems typically come with a bell or alarms that alerts the driver if something is located close by within the field of view of the camera.
“There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. A good back up camera will help drivers see into those blind zones directly behind vehicles to make sure it is safe to back up.
Safety tip– Before backing up your vehicle, walk around the back of it to make sure someone isn’t walking, sitting or playing in the area. Then, after getting in the vehicle, check all mirrors and your backup camera before putting the vehicle in to reverse. Begin very slowly and proceed with caution. Quick and sudden movements should be avoided. Honking your horn will also alert everyone behind you that you will be backing up.