Through the evaluation of traffic accident data, in addition to emergency room records, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has calculated that roughly 220 fatalities occur annually due to nontraffic backover accidents, with 14,000 recoverable injuries also occurring on average.
What is a Backover Accident?
Backover crashes involve hitting a pedestrian or bicyclist. In both cases, the victim does not have the protection afforded by an automobile and is, therefore, more vulnerable. Backover crashes often occur at slow speeds since they involve a driver moving in reverse.
Backover Accidents in PA
Any area around a vehicle to which a driver can’t see directly or through a side-view or rearview mirror is considered a blind spot. Despite the latest technology, all vehicles have some sort of blind spots. The blindest of them all, however, is typically the rear of the vehicle. Nearly half of all backover accidents in PA occur off of public roadways, mostly happening in parking lots, parking spaces, and driveways. It is known that one must practice safe driving when in traffic, but these numbers indicate that safety is needed at all times, even when a driver is entering or exiting his or her own driveway.
Unfortunately, the most common victims of backover accidents are children and senior citizens; namely, those who cannot get out of the way in time. In fact, nearly half of the IIHS’s reported annual backover crash fatalities involve either children or elderly Americans (those over the age of 70). The rest of the fatalities are made up of pedestrians and bicyclists.
Children and Backover Accidents
Small children are especially vulnerable when walking or playing behind a vehicle as they’re unlikely to be seen by the driver from inside the vehicle. In fact, statistics show that at least 50 children in the US are victims of vehicle backover accidents every week. Even more tragic is that over 70% of these backover accidents involving children, a parent or close relative is the driver of the car. The most predominant age of these victims is 1-year olds (12-23 months).
Trucks and Backover Accidents
While the size and weight of big trucks are most often a concern, there’s also the issue of visibility. Its nearly impossible for drivers of tractor trailers to see what’s behind their truck. With that being said, big rigs typically need to reverse in order to drop off their cargo. For this reason, most trucks are equipped with backup alarms to warn any pedestrians that the truck is in reverse. However, the responsibility is on the truck driver to ensure that no one is behind the truck before reversing, which can be challenging due to their blind spots.
Tips to Avoid Backover Crashes
- Be sure to check your surroundings before you get in your vehicle. It’s important to take a quick walk around where you are parked and look underneath your car before you get in and start it. This is especially true if children are playing nearby.
- Listen to what’s going on around you- Especially while reversing, turn the radio off and keep the windows down so you can tune into your surroundings.
- Always back up with caution- Whenever you’re reversing out of a parking spot, driveway, etc., always drive with complete control over your car and be ready to stop instantly if needed.
- Never solely rely on rearview cameras or sensors- While the sensors or monitors that come on most new vehicles are helpful, they’re not completely foolproof, especially when detecting children.
Technology to Prevent Backover Accidents
Technical advancements in recent years have made it possible to lessen the number of backover crashes. Rearview cameras are especially useful in preventing these accidents. These cameras pick up all objects which lie in the car’s path and display them on a screen on the dashboard of your car. Furthermore, many cars are now equipped with sensors which will alert a driver of an object or person moving through the car’s path.
Even though technology is making it possible to avoid such potentially disastrous car accidents, drivers must not allow these systems to lull them into a false of security. Always be alert to what lies behind your car while you are driving in reverse.
Contact a Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyer
Carpey Law has decades of experience handling backover accidents and car accidents in general. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injuries as a result of a car or truck accident, contact us today to discuss your case.
Stuart A. Carpey, who has been practicing as an attorney since 1987, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation which includes representing injured individuals in a vast array of personal injury cases.