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The Risks of Backover and Parking Lot Accidents During the Holiday Season

Nov 25, 2012 - Car Accidents by

Through Thanksgiving and the year-end holiday season, many families will be having parties and get-togethers and will be hitting the malls and shopping centers to pick up gifts.

Most estimates indicate that the number of drivers on the roads goes up during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend as well as during the Christmas holiday, and many experts advise caution when it comes to driving during these busy times.

Unfortunately, the holiday driving dangers don’t exist just on highways and roadways. Parking lots and driveways are dangerous places with more people on the road and there is a significant risk of backover accidents. 494705_parking_lot

Our car accident lawyers in Birmingham urge everyone to be very careful in driveways and parking lots this holiday season in order to minimize the chance of a backover accident. Those with children need to be especially cautious of the dangers, as should elderly individuals who may not be able to get out of the way of a reversing car.

When do Backover Accidents Happen
Backover accidents can happen at any time in driveways or parking lots and they can have serious consequences for pedestrians who are struck by a vehicle that is backing out. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has provided a number of estimates on the risks of backover accidents. According to their information:

  • 292 fatalities occur on average each year as a result of backover accidents.
  • 18,000 injuries occur on average each year in the U.S. as a result of backover accidents
  • Elderly people age 70 and up account for 33 percent of backover accident fatalities caused by light vehicles.
  • Children age 5 and younger account for 44 percent of backover accident fatalities caused by light vehicles

MSN Money also warns of the dangers of backovers and other parking lot accidents during the Black Friday Shopping Event. Reporting on data from Progressive Insurance, MSN states that approximately 25 percent of all accident claims that take place on Black Friday occur in parking lots.

Preventing Backover Accidents
The dangers of backover accidents to pedestrians, including children, is such an important public health issue that the Department of Transportation (DOT) proposed a new rear-view visibility rule in 2010.

The DOT was prompted to propose the rule after a real-world tragedy illustrated how devastating backover accidents can be. The tragedy occurred when two-year-old Cameron Gulbransen was run over as his father was backing out of the family driveway. The DOT’s proposed requirement was thus called the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2/car-accidents/alabama-traffic-accidents-likely-to-increase-with-economic-recovery/.

The Act would have required an expanded rear view field for vehicles including cars, trucks and other passenger vehicles in order to make it easier to see right behind the car when the car is reversing. It was also suggested that automakers should install rear-mounted video camera and in-vehicle displays in order to meet the requirements set forth in the new proposal. Unfortunately, the requirement that cameras be installed to improve rear visibility has been postponed indefinitely amid aggressive lobbying by automakers.

This means that pedestrians and especially children and older individuals remain at great risk of being injured in a backover accident. Caution is urged this holiday season to keep your children close and to always look carefully behind you before backing out to avoid causing serious injury or death.

Additional Resources:

U.S. DOT Proposes Rear View Visibility Rule to Protect Kids and the Elderly, NHTSA, December 3, 2010
Birmingham Trucking Accident Attorneys Look at Top Causes of Tractor-Trailer Crashes, Published by Cross & Smith LLC, Nov. 8, 2012.

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