Federal Rule Seeks to End Backover Accidents
A backover accident occurs when a driver puts a vehicle in reverse and accidentally hits a pedestrian. These types of crashes typically involve a bicyclist who is not seen by a driver, a child who has ventured behind a vehicle unnoticed, or in many cases, a pedestrian walking in a parking lot out of the view of the driver until it’s too late. Federal officials have been investigating these types of accidents and on May 1, a new federal rule went into place that everyone hopes will help decrease, if not eliminate, the number of backover crashes that occur each year.
New Vehicles Must Have Rear Camera Tech
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) started tracking backover accidents about a decade ago. The results from that 10-year study were pretty startling. NHTSA found that on average, more than 200 people were killed every year, and more than 15,000 people injured, in backover crashes. Wanting to do what it can to eliminate these types of deaths and injuries, NHTSA, earlier this month, implemented a new rule that requires all new light vehicles produced to be equipped with a rear-view visibility system, or rear camera technology. As an added rule, the camera must have a 10-by-20-foot view of the rear of the vehicle, among other requirements.
Many groups are applauding this move, including the Internet-based organization KidsandCars.Org. According to the organization, any backover crash is serious, but when it comes to children, there’s an even greater sense of horror. Statistics show that in more than 70 percent of backover accidents involving children, the driver is a parent or close relative.
Advocates are hoping that this mandated technology will greatly reduce all backover crashes, especially those impacting young children, who are often too small to be seen in a standard rearview mirror. Specifically, when it comes to age, two groups are highly vulnerable; those younger than 5, who account for 31 percent of fatalities, and those older than 70, who account for 26 percent of backover crash fatalities. Safety officials across the country are hopeful that moving forward, rear-view cameras will dramatically cut down on these types of auto accidents.
Rearview Cameras and Other Technology Increase Reverse Safety
Rearview cameras are not the only technology drivers can now rely on to help when going in reverse; park-assist systems are also becoming popular. Park-assist systems are comprised of various technologies bundled together, including sensors that sound an alarm or vibrate the seat when a vehicle in reverse is getting too close to an object. There’s also an alarm that alerts a driver if it detects a vehicle approaching from the side where it would cross paths with a vehicle in reverse.
Rear autoabrake system is another technology that detects objects and will automatically put pressure on the brakes if the driver doesn’t react to a warning alarm that they are about to hit something. A federal safety study in 2015 compared several different Cadillacs produced by General Motors, both with and without rear autobrakes, and found that owners of vehicles with the rear brake technology filed nearly 30 percent fewer claims for property damage than those without the technology.
When it comes to filing accident-related police reports, claims for vehicles with these advanced systems went down 62 percent. And for some Colorado drivers, there is some great news when it comes to this particular safety feature. The Subaru Outback, which is the third most popular vehicle purchased in the state, was rated superior when it came equipped with rear autobrake and other technology that assists drivers when a vehicle is in reverse.
In addition, NHTSA has announced that by 2022, nearly two dozen automakers will make automatic emergency braking a standard feature in all new vehicles. NHTSA believes this safety addition will cut down, by as much as 20 percent, the number of vehicle collisions.