Hundreds of children are injured or killed every year because vehicle drivers do not see them while backing up. According to an advocacy group that polled seven California hospitals, during the two-and-a-half-year period from January 2005 to June 2007, 100 children were hurt and 46 children died in California because of backover accidents.
In response to the crisis, the group has called for mandatory backup cameras in new cars. Backup cameras could improve children's safety by giving drivers a more accurate picture of their surroundings. The large vehicles that are the current trend for American drivers have larger blind zones than smaller cars.
How Backup Cameras Could Save Children's Lives
Because of their small stature, children can be concealed by vehicles' blind spots for a greater distance than adult drivers may expect them to be. A driver could fail to see a toddler who is 10 feet behind a vehicle, for instance. In addition, children may not be aware how fast a car can back up or even that a driver would plan to back out of a driveway, so they are less able to protect themselves.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been weighing the issue of mandatory backup cameras for over a year. Some critics argue that expensive backup cameras could contribute to drivers' over-reliance on technology for peace of mind, in exchange for true vigilance; others say, however, that the cameras are reasonably priced and could save hundreds of children's lives.
Whether drivers' vehicles employ rearview cameras or not, they must take care to be aware of their surroundings - especially when a child may be present. To prevent tragic vehicle accidents, California drivers who do not have rearview cameras should check behind their vehicles before they back up.
Source: "Group Wants Mandatory Back-Up Cameras for Cars," 1/12/12.
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