Backover accidents happen when a driver strikes a person - most often a pedestrian or bicyclist - while in reverse, usually when leaving a driveway or a parking spot. While these collisions tend to occur at low speeds, they can cause serious, even fatal injury. Tragically, these accidents often involve small children - and in a majority of backover incidents, a direct relative of the child is behind the wheel. In this post, our Kansas City car accident lawyers share some statistics about backover accidents, along with a few safety tips to help prevent these collisions.
Facts about backover accidents in Kansas City and nationwide:
• According to KidsandCars.org, at least 50 children are backed over every week in the United States. Of that number, 48 receive emergency room medical treatment and two are killed.
• The majority of backover accident victims are between 12 and 23 months in age.
• More than 60% of backover accidents involve a large vehicle like a truck, van or SUV.
• In over 70% of backover accidents, a parent or other close relative is behind the wheel. Toddlers have established independent mobility between the ages of 12-23 months, but the concept of personal safety is absent," according to a fact sheet from KidsandCars.org. "Backovers are often the predictable consequence of a child following a parent into the driveway and standing behind their vehicle without their parent's knowledge."
Preventing backover accidents: Basic safety tips
• Talk with your children about the dangers of playing in and around vehicles, even if the vehicle appears to be parked. Stress that they should move away from a vehicle immediately if they see a driver get in, or if they hear the vehicle start - and teach them to keep their bikes and other toys clear of the driveway.
• Never leave a small child unsupervised in or around a vehicle - not even for a short period of time. It only takes seconds for an accident to happen.
• If you're trying to pull out of a driveway when children are outside playing, have them stand to the side of the driveway so you can see them as you reverse.
• Remember that larger vehicles - like trucks, vans and SUVs - tend to have larger blind zones. Roll your windows down as you back up so you can hear what's happening around your vehicle - and keep checking your mirrors as you go.
• Many newer vehicles are equipped with technology to help prevent backovers, like backup cameras and warning alarms. These features can be useful, but you shouldn't count on them to determine that the area behind your vehicle is clear. There's no substitute for simply walking around your car to check the area - and when you do back up, go slow and look behind you, just in case a child darts into your path.