A blindzone is the area behind a vehicle where the driver cannot see even when looking back and using their rear and side view mirrors correctly. Blindzones are also in front of the vehicle but are not as large.
- Average blindzone = 15 to 25 feet
- Shorter drivers result in larger blindzones
- Over 60% of backovers involve a larger vehicle such as a truck, van or SUV
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every year backover accidents cause, on average, 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries. Backovers take place mainly in driveways and parking lots with over 70% of the accident involving a parent or close relative who is the driver.
Rear Visibility Standard in Michigan
KidsAndCars.org worked to reduce the risk of devastating backover crashes causing a rear visibility standard to be issued. On April 7, 2014, NHTSA issued a final rule which requires all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds to have rear visibility technology by May 2018.
This new standard specifies the area behind a vehicle which must be visible to the driver when the vehicle is placed into reverse. The agency anticipates that in the near term, vehicle manufacturers will use rearview camera systems and in-vehicle visual displays to meet the requirements of this rule.
Does This Technology Help?
But does rear visibility technology such as a rear camera help in terms of preventing backover accidents? A series of two studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety looked at the effect of rear cameras and parking sensors on increasing visibility in drivers’ rear blind zones, an area within about 27 feet of a car’s rear bumper. Without the benefit of rear visibility technology, the first study found that, generally, large SUVs had the worst rear visibility and small cars had the best. The second study found that drivers with a rear camera alone had the fewest backover collisions with the stationary foam dummy used in the study, with 56 percent of the drivers hitting the dummy.
For drivers with parking sensors, only one in 16 avoided a crash, while all the drivers without either technology hit the stationary dummy. Surprisingly, drivers who had both rear cameras and parking sensors did worse than those with only a rear camera, with 75 percent of those drivers with both technologies hitting the stationary dummy.
Even when used properly, the study found that rear cameras didn’t work to prevent all collisions. When the stationary dummy was positioned in the shade, most of the drivers with rear cameras still collided with it. This suggests that weather and lighting conditions can have an impact on how well rear cameras will work to help prevent backover auto accidents.
Prevention of Michigan Backover Accidents
Even with the installation of rear-view cameras, it is important for all Michigan residents to heighten their awareness before engaging a vehicle into reverse. KidsAndCars.org suggests the following:
- Always walk around and behind a vehicle prior to driving.
- Make sure that all children move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in your full view.
- If you have an adult passenger with you, ask them to stand outside the vehicle and watch for children as you back out.
- Be aware that steep inclines and large SUV’s, vans and trucks can add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.
- Keep toys, bikes, and other sports equipment out of the driveway.
- Roll down the driver’s side window when backing so you can hear if someone is warning you to stop.
Michigan Backover Accident Attorneys
Even with the advent of new rear visibility technology it is important for drivers to look next to and behind their vehicles before moving in reverse. If someone you love was injured in a backover accident, it is important to speak to a Michigan backover accident lawyer as soon as possible. Call the Michigan Injury Lawyers at 313-GET-HELP today for a free consultation.