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Backover Pedestrian Accidents: Both Tragic and Preventable

One of the most heartbreaking types of accident is a backover pedestrian accident where a vehicle hits a pedestrian when backing up. These collisions frequently occur in driveways or parking lots, resulting in the pedestrian victims suffering horrific injuries or death. Even worse, the majority of these tragedies can be prevented if drivers would take extra precautions when reversing their vehicles.

Who Is at Most Risk of Being the Victim of a Backover Accident?

Young children and the elderly are most at risk of being hit in a backover crash. When children are the victims, the majority of the accidents are caused by a parent or close relative backing over the child—often in a driveway. Facts and statistics found at KidsAndCars.org, show how big the problem is:

  • 232 pedestrians are killed and 13,000 are injured in backover wrecks each year.
  • 50 children are backed over each week when drivers could not see them.
  • The majority of victims are between 12 and 23 months old.
  • Children under five years old are at most risk of being a victim.

Why Do Drivers Cause Backover Crashes?

Most backover crashes occur because the pedestrian is behind the driver’s vehicle in his blind spot—even when the driver uses his rear and side view mirrors to see. The average blind spot is 15 to 25 feet behind a vehicle. Shorter drivers have a larger blind spot. This is also an issue when drivers are driving a larger vehicle such as an SUV, van, or truck—since 70 percent of backover accidents are caused by these vehicles.

Other factors contribute to backover accidents. These include the following:

  • Most drivers do not realize how large and dangerous the blind spot is behind all vehicles.
  • Children often do not want to be left alone and will follow behind a parent, family member, or caregiver who says goodbye to them. The driver is often unaware the child snuck out behind him.
  • Children do not understand the danger of a slowly moving vehicle. They wrongly assume that if they can see the vehicle that the driver can see them.
  • Children do not recognize boundaries, such as sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots, and can be very impulsive.

Tips on How to Prevent Backover Injuries and Deaths

Drivers and parents can take steps to prevent backover accidents. Ways to avoid causing these devastating accidents include:

  • People should install a rearview camera and sensors on their vehicles. There is no need to wait to purchase a new vehicle to have the use of this important safety feature.
  • Drivers should walk around their vehicles prior to moving them.
  • Parents and drivers should know where children are before a vehicle is moved. Children should be instructed to move away from the vehicle so the driver can see them before he moves his vehicle. If possible, an adult should be supervising the children.
  • Children should hold hands with an adult or another older child at all times when in a parking lot.
  • Parents need to educate their children on the fact that parked vehicles move and that the driver may not be able to see them.
  • Parents should set a rule that their children are not allowed to play around parked vehicles.
  • Drivers need to be aware that steep inclines, SUVs, vans, and trucks can make seeing behind a vehicle even more challenging.
  • If there is an adult passenger in the vehicle, that person should stand outside the vehicle to watch for children while the driver is reversing.
  • Toys, bikes, and other sports equipment should not be left in the driveway to avoid tempting children to play with them there.
  • Landscaping around driveways should be kept trimmed so drivers can see the sidewalk, street, and pedestrians when pulling out of a driveway.
  • Locks should be installed high enough on home doors so young children cannot reach them, unlock the door, and slip out of the house.
  • Drivers should roll down their windows before reversing to hear any young children or other pedestrians around them.

Were you or a family member injured in a backover accident? The car accident attorneys at Brauns Law, PC understand how stressful these accidents can be—especially if your child was the victim—and are here to help. Start an online chat or call us toll free at 877-401-6689 to schedule a free evaluation of your case.

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