Every now and then, we read of a horror story where a parent backs up a car in a driveway and runs over their child. According to KidsinCars.org, thousands of children are injured each year in backing up accidents. Nationwide, at least fifty children are backed over each week, and two of them die. In Georgia alone, seventy-three children aged 14 and under died over the years 1990 through 2018 from backup accidents.
Causes of Injuries and Death from Backups
Most backing up accidents involving children take place when a driver is backing out of a driveway or a parking space. The driver didn’t look behind the vehicle before backing out, relied on the backup mirrors which always have blind spots, and failed to remember how quickly children can get themselves in harm’s way.
Preventing Backing Up Accidents
There are a handful of easy, common-sense precautions a driver can take to prevent backing up over a child. They are:
- Get to know a vehicle’s blind spots. Remember that mirrors can never give the whole picture when backing.
- Be sure to put your car in park. Otherwise, it might roll backward. Engage the emergency brake, too.
- Perform a walk-around. Walking around a vehicle gives you a firsthand view of the backing area and will alert you to any limitations or hazards. Check for children, soft or muddy areas, potholes, tire hazards, and other dangers lead to backing up accidents.
- After finishing the walk-around, don’t delay. Return to the vehicle and start backing within a few seconds. This will allow very little time for people or obstacles to change behind the vehicle.
- Remember that every potential backing up accident situation is new and different. You may back out of the same spot day after day, but don’t allow yourself to get complacent and relax. Be watchful each time.
- Don’t ever back over a grocery bag or a box. A child could have crawled inside of it.
- Use rearview cameras. Rearview cameras are not a substitute for looking with your own eyes, but they are one more tool to help avoid backing up accidents. If your vehicle doesn’t have them, have them installed.
If you or a loved one is the victim of a backing up accident, you should seek medical attention but then consult with an Atlanta car accident lawyer to determine liabilities and damages you might be able to recover.