While high-speed collisions involving vehicles and pedestrians tend to dominate the headlines, there is another equally-as-common type of auto-ped accident that does not get near as much publicity; backovers. These are those accidents where a driver backs over a pedestrian. Most of these accidents occur in driveways or parking lots, and in many cases, the driver knows the victim. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 292 backover accidents occur in the U.S. every year. Sadly, 35 percent of these accidents involve children that are under the age of 5.
Backover accidents are typically just that: accidents. Information shared on the website KidsandCars.org confirms what was mentioned earlier in that in nearly 70 percent of these cases, the driver is a parent or relative of the victim. While small children are indeed at higher risk of being involved in these types of accidents, teens and adults are not immune from them, either. Accidents involving people backing over bicyclists and runners are also common.
Most might think that avoiding backover accidents are relatively simple: all one needs to do is check their rearview mirror. Yet often that is not enough. Many do not realize just how large vehicle blind spots actually are. Research results published by Consumer Reports show that one an average size sedan, the blind spot directly behind the vehicle extends out to 13 feet. That distance increases to 18 feet for the average-sized SUV (with some larger SUVs having blind spots that go back as far as 50 feet).
A check of one’s driver- and passenger-side mirrors can reveal if someone is in a vehicle’s blind spot. Drivers should perform such a check any time they are backing up in an area where a pedestrian might appear.