Every year, backover accidents cause hundreds of deaths in America. Backover accidents are caused by reversing cars, trucks, and SUVs. They usually occur at low speeds and the victims are often children. Every year, we hear about tragic cases in Virginia in which a parent kills or injures a child when backing up the family car or a reversing car in a parking lot causes severe injuries.
A rise in the popularity of big SUVs in America has increased the prevalence of backover accidents. However, many new vehicles are now equipped with rear cameras and sensors that warn of the presence of an obstacle when reversing. Cameras became mandatory on cars manufactured from 2018 onwards.
In a recent report to Congress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stated backover accidents kill about 183 people a year. The figures were based on crash records and death certificate reports. Additionally, backover crashes leave about 6,700 to 7,419 people injured every year.
As personal injury lawyers, we are concerned about backover accidents in Virginia. If you or your child ended up hurt in a backover accident, please contact us today.
Why are Children Often the Victims of Backover Accidents?
According to the non-profit KidsAndCars.org, about 50 children are hurt in backover accidents every week in America.
It points out the average blind zone is 15 to 25 feet and every vehicle has one. Shorter drivers experience a larger blind zone. More than 60% of backover accidents involve a larger vehicle like a truck or an SUV.
KidsAndCars.org states a parent or a close relative is the driver in about 70% of backover accidents that involve children. Most of these tragic accidents take place in driveways and parking lots.
The organization cites the “bye-bye syndrome” as a factor behind many of these reversing accidents.
Children hate to be left behind when they hear a parent or another relative saying “bye bye.” They often follow the driver out. He is she does not realize the child has left the home and is standing behind the car and keeps on reversing. According to KidsAndCars.org, one-year-old children are most likely to be hurt or seriously injured in a backover crash. Toddlers have just started running at this age and are more likely to run behind a vehicle. Most backover accident victims are under 5-years-old.
KidsAndCars.org states all cars can be fitted with backover cameras but many still lack them.
The scale of the backover accident problem in Virginia and elsewhere may be underestimated. Many of these accidents occur on private property. This means they are not recorded in state and federal databases.
How Effective are Vehicle Backover Avoidance Cameras?
In its report to Congress, NHTSA noted it tested several camera systems on vehicles. Some of the results were alarming.
Testing found that the performance of sensor-based parking aids that use ultrasonic and radar parking aids to detect children behind the vehicle was “typically poor, sporadic and limited in range.”
Calculations based on the distance a car requires to stop suggested the detection ranges of many of the cameras are insufficient to stop collisions with pedestrians or other objects.
The NHTSA concluded that the camera-based systems offer the greatest potential to give drivers reliable assistance in identifying people in the path of the vehicle when it is backing up.
Although camera-based systems offer the greatest potential to prevent backover injuries, according to the NHTSA, the technology has limitations.
Bad weather like fog and rain can obscure people who appear in the camera as can glare on a bright day.
A federal rule that went into effect in May 2018 makes backover cameras mandatory in all new cars.
Safety advocates said the change took a long time. Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety said:
“It took a long time, and sadly, along that journey, we had more families joining us in our fight because they had lost their children while knowing there is this preventable technology. It’s heartbreaking.”
All cars, buses, and trucks under 10,000 pounds which are manufactured to be sold in the United States must have rearview video systems. The field of view from the vehicle must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone to cover the blind zone behind the vehicle.
The Chicago Tribune reported how Ford standardized backover cameras on all of its cars and trucks weighing under 10,000 pounds. Toyota and Nissan both comply with the rule as well.
Contact a Lawyer Over Backover Accidents in Virginia
Backover accidents are often tragic. If you or a child has been hurt by a reversing car, truck, van, bus, or SUV please contact the Smith Law Center as soon as possible at (757) 244-7000.