Backovers is term that is used to explain accidents that occur when a vehicle that is backing up, accidentally hitting toddlers or young children. During the last 4 years, the U.S. has seen a fourfold increase of “backovers”. 474 children have died in the last 4 years and numerous others have been injured. Last September, a California man was devastated when he accidentally ran over his 14 month old son. Because of these numerous deaths and injuries, the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act was passed just a few weeks ago.
The act specifically addressed the three main causes of preventable injuries among young children in and around motor vehicles; getting caught in an automatically closing power window, being struck by a vehicle backing up and placing a car in gear and rolling away. This legislation will direct the U. S. Department of Transportation is to issue new safety standards within a proposed time period. Also, it requires safety technologies to be standard equipment in new vehicles. Although most of these technologies exist now, they have never been mandatory requirements on new automobiles.
Power window sensors can save countless children from needless strangulation. The new bill will require these new sensors to be standard on all new vehicle s that have power windows. It only costs the manufacturer approximately $8-12 per window to install this new security function. It’s not expensive!
The backover warning systems typically cost a bit more, around $300 per vehicle. However, since this bill was introduced a couple years ago, many new products have come into the marketplace and this will eventually lead to cost reductions for the manufacturers. Most of the backover technologies consists of either a audible sensor a some sort of camera that relays a picture of your blind spot to the driver. For a complete list of these technologies, visit www.kidsandcars.org/
The last provision in the bill requires the service brake in all vehicles to have a safety feature that is depressed when the vehicle is taken out of park in order to prevent children from accidently disengaging the gear shift and causing the car to roll away.
Even though new legislation is coming to future vehicles, many people still drive older, less safe cars. Here are a few tips to remember:
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.
But if the unthinkable happens and your child is injured, don’t hesitate to call an experience personal injury attorney as soon as practical.