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One Child’s Death is Too Many: Preventing Backovers in Driveways

Most victims of backovers in driveways are the elderly and children. The driver of the vehicle is often a neighbor or relative of the injured party.  Since most of these tragedies occur in private driveways rather than on the road, they are not typically included in traffic-crash fatality data. Therefore, experts rarely agree on the exact number of children injured or killed in backover incidents each year. Awareness and understanding of the problem are the first steps toward reducing the risk of backover deaths each year. Vehicles Have Blind Spots Blind spot size can vary depending on the vehicle, the driver, the position of the seat, and more. Generally speaking, the larger the vehicle, the larger the blind spot. Also, a shorter driver’s blind spot will tend to be significantly larger as well. Safety Tips for Parents There simply is no single fail-safe solution to this problem. However, safety experts advise employing the following strategies to help reduce the risk of a backover tragedy:

  • Make sure your children are properly supervised at all times when outside, especially when motor vehicles are present.
  • Teach children not to play in, under, or around vehicles.
  • Always assume children could be present and carefully check the street, driveway, and area around your vehicle before backing out.
  • Avoid making your driveway a “playground”. If you do allow your children in this area, make sure that it is only when there are no vehicles present and only when an adult is supervising.
  • When backing up, always know where all children are and have them stay in your full view and well away from the vehicle.
  • Look behind you as you back out slowly with your windows rolled down so you can hear for children.
  • If you are driving an SUV or truck, remember that the blind spot behind your vehicle can be especially large so use extreme caution whenever you are backing up.

These tragic accidents are preventable. Also consider talking with neighborhood parents about backover incidents and ask them to teach their children to play in or around any vehicle or driveway. By working together to promote awareness, we can help to keep our children safe. If your child has been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact us immediately and fill out our free case evaluation form. Learn more on child safety from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.