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Backover Accidents And Rear Visibility

Craig McClellan

Few accidents are as heart-rending and horrific as backover accidents. The victims of these car accidents are often children. The drivers are often parents or guardians. While many technological developments have made cars safer for those inside, there is one area where vehicles have become more dangerous: visibility. Auto makers are using less glass in their vehicles for safety and fuel efficiency reasons. SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks are increasingly popular with families, but have among the largest blind spots of any vehicle. Large SUVs and pickups have an average blind spot of more than 30 feet for a shorter driver. The result is more accidents where children are backed over by drivers who never saw them.

The statistics surrounding backover accidents are grim. Across the United States, more than 50 children are backed over per week. These terrible accidents claim two young lives per week. The frequency of this type of accident led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recommend that all new vehicles come equipped with backup cameras. Recently, the NHTSA told auto makers to have the backup cameras in place by 2014, at a cost of between $58 and $203 per vehicle. That has become another in a long line of deadlines that has been postponed.

Many consumers are choosing to pay for backup cameras when they purchase a new vehicle. In 2013, roughly one out of every three new vehicles sold was equipped with such a camera. While the requirement is still being considered, more consumers may want to weigh the cost of such a camera. Among the many variables to consider when buying a new vehicle is visibility. How easily can you see out the back and sides of the vehicle? How far back does the blind spot extend?

A vehicle that is poorly designed for rear visibility is a threat. Backup cameras are one way to combat that threat. Until the requirement to add these devices is put in place, consumers will have to weigh the expense of a backup camera into their purchasing decisions.