Winter is a dangerous time on the roads, but parking lots are dangerous places year-round, especially when it comes to the risk of backover injuries.
While winter weather can increase the risk of backover injuries in parking lots, the truth of the matter is that this hidden risk is a primary threat, particularly for young children and the elderly.
Backover Injuries in Parking Lots
For the driving public, backup cameras are a significant safety feature that reduces the risk of an accident. After years of debate, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is finally set to require all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds be equipped with such cameras by May 2018.
As USA Today has reported, requiring backup cameras in new vehicles has been a long fight. Congress passed a law in 2011 that mandated the cameras in all light vehicles by 2014. But the measure was fought vigorously by vehicle manufacturers, citing costs. The mandate was later pushed to 2018.
The NHTSA now estimates about three-quarters of all new vehicles are already equipped with cameras. Cost per vehicle is estimated to be $43 to $142, depending on whether the vehicle model already has an adequate display screen.
Children and Elderly Are at the Highest Risk of Backover Injuries
The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates more than 200 people are killed each year and 15,000 injured in backup incidents involving passenger vehicles. Nearly one-third of those killed were children under the age of 5, while 1 in 4 cases involved an adult over the age of 70.
While parking lots are where pedestrians are most at risk, safety advocates caution parents not to forget about the risks of private driveways, especially during large holiday gatherings or other social occasions.
Kids and Cars offers parents a number of safety tips:
- Know where children are before moving a vehicle. Keep children in sight when backing up.
- Always walk around your vehicle prior to moving it.
- Hold a child's hand in a parking lot at all times. Form a chain if you're supervising more than one child.
- Teach children about the dangers. Tell them never to play in or around vehicles and teach them that parked vehicles may back up without warning.
- Never allow children to leave bikes or other toys in the driveway.
- Backing drivers should leave the radio off and roll down a window so they can hear warnings or other noises.
These are complex cases, often involving serious or fatal injury. In some cases, a loved one may even be the at-fault driver. Being aware of the risks, and teaching your children about them, can go a long way toward preventing a tragedy.
In the event of an injury caused by a backover accident, you should seek the legal help of an experienced personal injury lawyer at Recht Law Offices.