An accident caused by a driver who seriously injures or kills someone while backing out of a parking space or a driveway make up a small percentage of the more than six million crashes that happen each year in the U.S. This is no comfort to families who have lost a loved one in such a crash. It is heartbreaking because often the driver responsible is a friend or relative of the accident victim. Who is at risk?
The Insurance Institute for Safety reports children under the age of 5 and adults 70 years of age and older are more vulnerable to being hurt or killed by a vehicle backing into them than the rest of the population. A person walking, standing or on a bicycle is also more often hit by a car that is backing up. The driver responsible for the crash is frequently behind the wheel of a van, SUV or pick up truck. Because these vehicles sit higher off the ground, it is more difficult to see someone who is behind them. Backing up crashes most often happen at slow speeds on non-public roads such as in parking garages, parking lots, residential driveways and alleyways. Fewer happen on public roadways.
Statistics on Back Over Crashes (per year):
- 292 people die in back over accidents and 18,000 are injured
- 71 people die and 4,000 are injured on public roads
- 221 people die and 14,000 are injured on non-public roads
- 66% of such crashes happen in driveways or parking lots
(Source: NHTSA and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
To prevent tragedy, get into the habit of looking carefully behind your vehicle before you get in. Walk around and behind your car. Back up slowly and carefully using your rear view and side mirrors to double check no one is behind you. Many automobile manufacturers are installing rearview cameras in new vehicles. These cameras can also be installed aftermarket. Although they can help drivers in identifying people in the path of a vehicle backing up, they are not a “silver bullet.” Take every precaution possible and be alert to avoid an accident.