A neighborhood in Southern California is mourning the death of a 2 year old boy this week after he was fatally run over by a truck. The truck was backing up out of his family’s driveway when the young boy was hit. Furthermore, in 70% of these types of cases, usually it is a family member who kills or injures the child. Approximately 200 small children die from backovers each year and between 6700 to 7400 children are injured.
Backover is a term that is used to explain accidents that occur when a vehicle that is backing up, accidently hits a toddlers or young child. During the last 4 years, the U.S. has seen a fourfold increase of “backovers”. Unfortunately May and June have the highest volume of these accidents.
Legislation is still pending in congress to move forward with specific safety standard for vehicles on this issue. Safety advocates disagree on the type of safety mechanism; rear view cameras with video screens, radar, beeping sensors or larger rear-view mirrors. Although the technology is not perfect, choosing some or all of these features will improve backovers safety especially with larger cars.
The current car selection of backovers warning devices is still optional on most high-end cars. However, you could still opt to install your own camera or device yourself as well. For a complete list of these technologies, visit This child advocate site and click the link for technology.
Since many of today’s vehicles have blind spots and so many don’t have rear end safety devices, it is crucial that you educate your children and be extra observant during late spring and throughout summer when children are outside playing. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
• If your car is parked in the driveway, take a walk around your vehicle once before getting in the driver’s seat. Check for toys, kids and pets before starting your engine.
• Even if you don’t have children, always check while you’re backing up for children running or playing in your driveway. Half of all backovers do not occur in the child’s own home.
• When walking on a street or sidewalk, firmly take the hand of a toddler or young child. No safety legislation can beat the eyes of an attentive parent.
• Before moving your car, make sure all children are in full view
• Educate your children if they tend to play around cars in a driveway. Just because a car is not moving, doesn’t mean it won’t in the future.
• Trim landscaping around your driveway to keep better visibility
For additional information on this topic, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website to read their Report to Congress on this issue. The report is entitled, “Vehicle Backover Avoidance Technology Study.”
James Ballidis is the author of several books on accidents and injury, and a California injury lawyer. If you need help, do not hesitate to contact his office at 1 866 981-5596 or view the California injury lawyer website for articles and information on child and other injury topics.