ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Every year, thousands of children are killed or seriously injured because a driver backing up didn’t see them.
“Our environment is so fast-paced. We have so much to do in so little time, and time is not going to wait for us. I think we just all get in a rush,” says Starr Groves, a senior client advisor at BMW Roanoke.
Backing up accidents, also known as backovers, are instances when a vehicle is backing out of a driveway or parking space and hits a pedestrian because the driver did not see him or her. Alarmingly, a majority of these instances involve young children.
According to KidsAndCars.org, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the lives of young children and pets in and around vehicles, at least 50 children are being backed over by vehicles every week in the United States, with the predominant age group of victims being one-year-olds. In over 70% of these accidents, the driver involved was a parent or a close relative.
As more people are choosing larger vehicles, many don’t realize their tendency to have larger blind spots. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation standardized all 2018 vehicle models and newer to be equipped with rearview technology. Groves says the 2019 BMW X7 has a 360 surround-view camera as one of their many safety features.
“You can access this in a park position, and a drive position, or a reverse position. And you basically can toggle around the vehicle using what we call the eye drive and it will show you about 6 or 7 different points of angles of your camera. So you can see all your surroundings at all times around you,” says Groves.
Experts say that while drivers should have a heightened sense of awareness when operating a vehicle into reverse, it’s also important for parents to educate their children on the dangers of vehicles. Starr says that with his children, holding hands was very important for safety.
“Anywhere they went they had to hold my hand. I think that if parents would instill in their young kids, ‘do not walk anywhere by yourself’, whether it’s a parent, a teacher, a counselor, a coach, someone should be by your side to hold your hand and I think that would prevent a lot of these accidents because you have that parental supervision at all times with your children,” says Groves.
To learn more tips on how to keep your children safe in and around vehicles, visit KidsandCars.org.