Many of us know someone or have heard of someone who has backed over a toy in the driveway. A less common occurrence, but one that is far more devastating, is a backover accident where someone, rather than something, is hit.
Most of the time, the person hit is an unattended child or an elderly person. In fact, children between the ages of 12 and 23 months are those most commonly injured or killed in backover accidents. Kidsandcars.org reports that 50 kids are victims of tragic backovers every week.
At the other end of the spectrum is another vulnerable population, the nation’s elderly. Unfortunately, the victim of these heartbreaking accidents is usually a close relative, such as a parent, or visitor to the home, such as a neighbor.
Backover accidents occur mostly because of blind spots, areas around the vehicle that the driver cannot see well. Certain types of drivers and vehicles increase the risk. For example, larger vehicles and shorter drivers have larger blind spots.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a rule that requires new vehicles sold or leased in the U.S. to comply with rear visibility standards. This rule goes into effect in May 2018. It is expected to reduce the number and severity of backover accidents.
In the meantime, cautious drivers can be proactive in avoiding backover accidents:
• Do not allow your driveway to be used as a play area.
• Make sure you know the location of children and the elderly before you back into or out of your driveway.
• When backing up, keep the windows rolled down so that you can hear outside your car in case someone gets into trouble.
• Walk around your vehicle before backing up and always use your mirrors and any rearview cameras.
• Teach your kids to stay out of the driveway and make eye contact with them before you backup if they are staying behind.
• Make it a habit to have your children hold the hand of a responsible adult in parking lots.
• Install locks on exterior doors high enough that kids cannot reach them.
If at all possible, in addition to these steps, retrofit your vehicle so that you can see in the vehicle’s rear blind spot. Although rearview technology comes with a price, the relative cost is low when compared to that of a human life.
The Alexander Law Group, LLP is a nationally-recognized and award-winning personal injury law firm with offices in San Jose and San Francisco. We are passionate about our clients and our community. We are advocates for our clients and we invite you to read what our clients have to say.