Accidents involving reversing vehicles and children hit the news on a far-too-regular basis. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare – and tragically it happens almost every week in Australia.
Usually it is the parent, family member or a friend behind the wheel. It happens in an instant, even if the child is thought to be in a safe place.
Did you know...
1) On average, one child a week is run over in their own driveway in Australia
2) Driveway accidents are the #2 cause of accidental death for children at home (the pool is #1)
3) Three children a week are injured in low speed rollovers nationally
4) Many popular family cars have a blind zone of up to 15 metres at the rear
(Sources: :Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety, QLD; NRMA; Kidsafe)
How does it happen?
Virtually every car has a large blind spot at the rear that makes small children invisible when behind the car, even when several metres behind the vehicle. It’s not just large 4WDs either (although these are involved in proportionately more accidents), some of the biggest blind spots are in compact sedans and hatches.
You can check your own car’s rear visibility with the NRMA’s Reversing Visibility Index.
What can you do to reverse more safely?
1) Take action:
- Never reverse your car without ensuring children are secure and don't have access to the driveway
- If in doubt, put the children in the car with you
- Separate play areas from the driveway - secure driveway areas with gates and fences
- Teach your children about the risks. The driveway should be treated like a road at all times
2) Get a reversing camera:
- A reversing camera allows a complete view of what’s behind your car at all times
- A screen built in to the rear view mirror activates when reverse gear is selected
- Every car receiving 5 stars in the NRMA Reversing Visibility Index has a reversing camera
- Pairing a reversing camera with reversing sensors provides an additional auditory warning
Remember though, a reversing camera is no substitute for proper care and vigilance.
- View the NRMA Reversing Visibility Index to find out how safe your car is in reverse gear
- Driveway safety information from Kidsafe
- A fact sheet on driveway safety from Kids and Traffic – the Early Childhood Road Safety Education Program