Children at Risk of Driveway or Parking Lot Back-over Accidents in Winston-Salem, Elsewhere

Winston-Salem personal injury lawyers want to remind motorists to use extra caution as you back out of driveways or parking spots this time of year because little ones or elders may be difficult to see.
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Back-over accidents in Charlotte, Asheville, Hickory or elsewhere can cause severe injury or even death when a young child or elderly person can’t move out of the way quickly enough to avoid contact with a vehicle moving in reverse. Children playing in driveways at holiday gatherings or elders moving slowly through overcrowded parking lots are a common occurrence this time of year, so motorists should make sure the path is clear before putting their vehicle in gear.

Last December, we posted on our North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog that the U.S. Department of Transportation had plans to make it mandatory that all vehicles up to 10,000 pounds would have rear-mounted cameras or in-vehicle displays installed by 2014 in order to reduce the risk of back-over accidents nationwide.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports there are almost 300 deaths and 18,000 injuries from back-over accidents on average per year. Small children and elders are the most at risk of these types of accidents because they often don’t appear in a vehicle’s blind spot and go undetected when a driver is attempting to drive in reverse.

A year later, rear-view camera regulations have made the headlines again. Bloomberg Businessweek reports the NHTSA had intended to announce a final rule by the end of the year on the standard installation of back-up cameras in passenger vehicles by 2014, but the government is receiving some flack and accusations of over-regulating from the automobile industry. It is estimated that the rear-view cameras could save as many as 146 lives a year but would cost automakers approximately $2.7 billion to install in 16 million vehicles annually. By their calculations, this works out to roughly $18.5 million per life saved.

One argument that industry leaders are making is the camera is not a “one size fits all” remedy. Meaning smaller cars have different expanded views than SUVs or pickup trucks and the height of a driver can also make a difference in determining a vehicle’s blind spot. For example, an SUV can have a blind spot of almost 20 feet compared to a small coupe that sits low to the ground and may only present a 4-foot blind spot.

One thing motorists can do to reduce the risk of a back-over accident is to keep a watchful eye before backing out of crowded lots or driveways. The last thing you should do before getting in your vehicle is walk all the way around your vehicle to make sure there are no obstacles. Check the area around the rear of the vehicle to make sure no one is approaching or children aren’t present. Once you start your engine, turn your head to look for passers-by and then slowly move the vehicle in reverse once you feel the coast is clear.

AAA Exchange reminds parents to teach their kids that driveways are not a playground. Parents should also keep children close in crowded parking lots by pushing them in a cart or holding their hand to reduce the risk of a back-over accident.

If you or a loved one is injured in a back-over accident in Greensboro, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Asheville or the surrounding areas, contact the personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices P.A for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
The Price of Preventing Back-Over Deaths, by Angela Greiling Keane, Bloomberg Businessweek.

More Blog Entries:
Confrontations with Aggressive Drivers Lead to a High Number of Car and Trucking Accidents in Charlotte, Statewide, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, November 30, 2011.

Blind Spots are Common Cause for North Carolina Car Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, November 8, 2010.

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