Drive on any Long Island highway or neighborhood streets and they are omnipresent–minivans, SUV’s and pick-up trucks, all vehicles with limited rear-view visibility. Nearly 300 deaths and 18,000 injuries are estimated to result each year from drivers backing up. What’s worse is that so many of these accidents occur when a parent leaves their own house and backs up over one of their own children, a horrible scenario too devastating to think about. So now the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed groundbreaking rear-visibility standards for all new passenger vehicles.
This is a much-needed safety measure that will hopefully result in a significant drop in these devastating accidents. In data collected by the advocacy organization, KidsAndCars.com, they found that in more than 70 percent of these cases involving a child, the driver is a direct relative of the victim. Also very young children are disproportionally affected–80 percent of the fatalities involve children age three and under, and 43 percent of those are one-year-olds. What’s worse is that these accidents are completely preventable. Unlike accidents where someone is else is speeding through a light or careening drunk down the wrong side of the road, this accident usually involves a loving and sober parent who simply could not see what was behind his or her vehicle.
So most probably car manufacturers will provide video systems so drivers will know exactly what is behind their vehicle below the rear window. This is sure to be a huge safety improvement on Long Island, where it is commonplace for minivans and SUVs to be backing out of driveways, school parking lots, neighborhood parks, and other places where kids may wander behind a car.
At Goldstein and Bashner, we completely support this proposed safety standard. It is important to realize, however, that even with full visibility, it is essential to:
* Look carefully before backing up
* Teach children not to stand or play behind cars
* Know exactly where any nearby kids are when backing up
* Never leave keys and/or remotes within reach of children
* Never leave young children alone in or around cars.
If you or someone you know has been injured in any type of car accident, please contact us. We’ll give you a free consultation, let you know what to expect, guide you through the process, and answer any questions you have.