As our Charlotte car accident attorneys noted in an earlier posting to our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers blog, vehicle blind spots contribute to a significant number of tragic pedestrian accidents involving children. Nationwide, more than 40 percent of such accidents involve children aged 5 and younger. Making matters worse, in most cases the driver is a parent, grandparent or family member who inadvertently strikes an out-of-sight child when backing up or pulling forward.
This type of accident has become such a concern that the U.S. Department of Transportation has proposed new vehicle safety regulations requiring an expanded field of view for all motor vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds.
On average, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates there are more than 290 fatalities and 18,000 injuries each year as a result of back-over accidents. The NHTSA is urging vehicle manufactures to install rear-mounted video cameras with in-vehicle displays, with 100 percent compliance by 2014.
“The steps we are taking today will help reduce back-over fatalities and injuries not only to children, but to the elderly, and other pedestrians,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. Strickland further notes that while such changes will help diminish the risk of a back-over accident, “no technology can, or should, replace full attention and vigilance when backing up. Always know where your children are before you start your car and make sure you check that there is no one behind you before you back up.”
The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007 was named after a two-year-old boy struck and killed by his father in the family driveway. North Carolina Safe Kids offers a simple checklist that all motorists should run through before putting their vehicle in gear.
~ Implement a five-second rule: Before driving off, take five seconds to walk all the way around your vehicle to make sure no pets, children, toys or unseen obstacles are blocking your path.
~ Implement a five-foot rule: Teach children that driveways are not play areas. Create a no-kid “bubble-zone” around your vehicle. Have your kid use chalk or tape to mark off the no-tread area.
~ Implement a safe-spot rule: Designate a “safe spot” in your yard – that is visible to drivers – and teach kids to stand still and wait in that area until they are told the coast is clear. (Waiting until a moving vehicle has stopped moving is not license to leave the safe-spot!)
~ Implement a safe-driveway rule: Never let your kid play in or near a parked car or in a parking lot or driveway. Hold hands when walking to or from a vehicle or when walking through a parking lot. Teach your kids traffic safety and set a good example.
The Spartanburg car accident lawyers with Lee & Smith know that few things are more tragic than seeing a child injured or killed in a fatal car accident. We hope that if you are involved in a serious car accident you will call us at 1-800-887-1965 or email our law offices to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights.