We’ve all heard tragic stories of people backing over a crawling infant or playing child in a driveway. These accidents leave families devastated. The recent death of a one-year-old in North Miami can’t help but once again bring up the issue of back-over accidents and how to avoid them.
Police said that the child’s mother was backing the car out of her driveway when she accidentally ran over her son. The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene. The incident is under investigation, but police do not suspect foul play.
“Every year, thousands of children are killed or seriously injured because a driver backing up didn’t see them.” ~ KidsandCars.org
Back-over accidents are more common that most people think. Tragically, in over 70% of such incidents, occur when the person behind the wheel is a parent, grandparent, close relative or someone the child knows. In the U.S. alone, at least fifty children are being backed over by vehicles EVERY week. The predominant age of victims is between 12-23 months.
These accidents typically occur while driving at a low rates of speed while exiting a parking spot or backing down a driveway. Over 60% of backing up incidents involved a larger size vehicle (truck, van, SUV). Because these cars have less visibility, typically more blind spots and are higher off the ground.
The good news is that back-over accidents are preventable. Below are safety tips on how you can prevent them.
- Always look around and underneath the vehicle before getting in and starting to move.
- If there are children playing nearby, count them and make sure, before you back out, that you can still see all the children. Have children in the area stand to the side of the driveway or sidewalk so you can see them as you are backing out of a driveway or parking space.
- Be prepared to stop. A tragedy can happen in a heartbeat. Always back out cautiously and with complete control over the car, and be ready to stop instantly if needed.
- Teach children not to play near cars. Don’t allow the driveway to become a playing area, and be sure your children are taught never to play near, under, inside or behind a vehicle of any kind.
- Because kids can move unpredictably, you should actively check your mirrors while backing up.
- Many cars are equipped with detection devices that provide rearview video or warning sounds, but they cannot completely take the place of actively walking around your car to make sure children are safely out of the way. Do not rely solely on these devices to detect what is behind your vehicle.
Accidents can happen no matter how hard you try to prevent them, but in the case of back-over accidents there is one predominant cause — a lack of caution on behalf of the driver. Always take extra caution to look behind before putting your vehicle in reverse. It may mean the difference between life and death.
Lawsuit Financial supports any effort to prevent senseless injuries or deaths to children. Most trial lawyers are pleased to become involved in safety efforts that help prevent such tragedies, rather than becoming involved, afterwards, to pursue justice for someone who has experienced it. Trial lawyer involvement in KidsAndCars.org is one good example. To receive additional information or to lend your support to this wonderful organizations, please visit their websites at KidsAndCars.org.
Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.