Now that most states have reopened for business we are starting to see more cars and trucks on the road again. At the same time, kids are headed back to school, which is a good time to talk about safety around cars. Bankrate.com recently published a useful guide on how children can stay safe while playing outside where cars may be present.
Newer model cars and trucks are built tough, with a multitude of safety features designed to protect us in the event of a crash. But even with all the modern safety features, driver error still occurs.
Each year children suffer injury or death when a driver, who is unable to see a child in front of or behind their vehicle, runs over the child. These types of accidents, often referred to as “frontovers,” “backovers” or “rollovers,” usually happen when a driver is backing out of a driveway or parking space, or pulling forward.
Today, most cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans have sensors to alert them if someone or something is beside the car, but even with warning lights and sounds, blind spots still exist. Blind spots, or blind zones, are located in the front and rear of the vehicle. If anyone is sitting or standing in this blind zone then a driver cannot see them. Several automakers have installed rear backup cameras and beepers to reduce the likelihood of backover accidents, but these features should not be relied on entirely. A driver should still be aware of the blind zone for their particular vehicle and make sure the surrounding area is clear before moving.
SUVs, vans, and trucks are large vehicles with limited visibility that can make it difficult to see a child standing behind or in front of them. Kids n’ Cars, a non-profit organization that focuses on vehicle safety for children, did an experiment to show just how difficult it can be to see kids behind large automobiles. In the experiment, they wanted to see how many children could sit behind an SUV without being seen by the driver. In the end, they were able to fit 62 kids behind the large SUV without the driver being able to see them.
Other Safety Concerns
Backover accidents are not the only concern when it comes to the safety of kids around cars.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Vehicles with keyless ignitions are especially problematic because it’s sometimes difficult to hear if the engine is still running. As a result, people unknowingly leave their vehicles running in the garage.
- Heat Stroke – Caused from being left in a hot car. Temperatures as low as 60 degrees outside can reach over 100 degrees in a car.
- Power Windows – A child can suffocate if their head gets trapped in the closing window.
- Trunk Entrapment – Every child should know how to use the internal trunk release mechanism, which became standard for every vehicle after September 1, 2001.
- Underage Driving – Keep keys out of reach of children.
- Vehicle Set in Motion – Keep parking brakes on and check to see that your car can’t be shifted into gear without your foot on the break.
- Falls from Vehicles – especially large trucks or SUVs that sit high off the ground.
Tips to Avoid Backover Accidents
Parents, drivers, and children can take steps to reduce the likelihood of backover accidents.
- Educate children – reinforce the dangers of automobiles and the fact that the driver may not be able to see them (children often assume they are seen by the driver).
- Know the blind zones of your vehicle.
- Walk around the vehicle before moving.
- Know where children are before moving – it’s best for them to be inside, but if they are outside make sure you can see them and try to have an adult present to supervise them.
- Listen for children around your vehicle – roll your window down.
- Trim landscaping in order to maintain good visibility of your surrounding area.
- Keep toys away from the lane of travel to reduce the likelihood of a child darting out to grab a toy.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury or death due to the negligence of a driver or the defect in a vehicle then you should speak with an experienced accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact us for a free consultation. We charge you nothing unless we recover money for your injuries. Call us today at 478-238-9758.