The majority of backover accidents involving young children occur in residential driveways. Sadly, a parent or close relative is behind the wheel in most driveway backup accidents, which account for nearly half of all fatal car accidents involving children.
Backover Accidents Are on the Rise
Every car and truck has blind spots that limit the driver’s visibility. The car door frame and A-pillars are visual impediments that obstruct the driver’s view making it hard to identify the presence of pedestrians traveling behind the vehicle. Visibility behind the vehicle is very limited. Side and rear-view mirrors only provided a limited view of what is behind a car or truck. Furthermore, the fact that the driver is seated facing forward greatly reduces the driver’s ability to see what is going on behind his or her truck or car.
Most backover accidents involve SUVs (sport utility vehicles) and pickup trucks. These motor vehicles have larger blind spots than other makes and models making it more difficult for drivers to notice small children behind the rear of the vehicle. A 5 foot 8 inch operator driving a midsize SUV has an average blind spot behind the vehicle measuring 18 feet.
More 60 percent of all vehicle backup pedestrian accidents involve a truck, SUV or van.
Driveway Backup Accident Involving Children
Most backover accidents involve young children. The majority of the accidents involving young children occur in residential driveways. Sadly, a parent or close relative is behind the wheel in 3 out of 4 child driveway backup accidents. Backing-car accidents account for nearly half of the fatal child car accidents that occur every year. Approximately 2 children die every week in driveway backover accidents.
Elderly Pedestrian Backing Up Accident
The elderly population is the other segment of society that frequently falls victim to backover accidents. Roughly 75 adults ages 70 years and older sustain fatal backover injuries every year. The elderly victims often fail to notice the car backing up or aren’t physically capable of moving fast enough to get out of the way of backing cars. The elderly population is generally a high fall risk. Often times they will slip, trip and fall behind the vehicle due to snow and ice or some hazardous condition in a driveway or parking lot. Other times just fall due to limited functional capacity. Most falls involving seniors result in injuries and this can prevent them from getting up and out of the way fast enough to avoid a car or truck backing up.
Employee/Worker Backover Accident Occurring on the Job-site
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, over 140 workers were killed between 2003 and 2010 from construction site backover accidents involving trucks and heavy industrial machinery. There are several reasons why these work-site backover accidents occur. Often times the worker is lost in the driver’s blind spot, loud noise on the construction site makes it impossible for the worker to hear the back alarms beeping, the backup alarm on the truck is not working, the spotter guiding the driver does not see the worker or the there is not even a spotter.
What Safety Measures are being taken to reduce backover accidents?
In order to counter this growing rate of backover injuries, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration advised vehicle manufacturers to make built-in rear backup cameras a standard feature on all new motor vehicles. The NHTSA recommended this in order to minimize the driver’s rear blind spot zone. Vehicle blind spots can be anywhere from 15 to 25 feet.
The NHTSA’s recommendation resulted in a new law being passed and beginning in May of 2018 all auto manufacturers will be required to make built-in rear backup cameras a standard feature on all new motor vehicles.
However, according to an NHTSA study the number of new vehicles sold between 2008 and 2011 that came with built-in rear back up cameras doubled from 32 percent to 68 percent. Despite the increase in vehicles with backup cameras, the number of vehicle backup accidents only decreased 8% from 13,000 to 12,000 despite the dramatic increase in vehicles with backup cameras.