(Irving, TX) – Children across the Lone Star State will soon be on new bicycles, tricycles, battery powered and pedal riding toys, scooters, and roller skates. So, AAA Texas offers reminders for drivers and parents to ensure kids enjoy new toys but remain safe in their communities.
There are only rough estimates of backover collisions because many happen on private property and are not recorded in state or federal crash databases. But according to NHTSA, backover crashes cause more than 180 deaths each year and between 6,700 and 7,400 injuries annually.
“With the joys of the season, it’s crucial we not forget about safety,” said AAA Texas/New Mexico Representative Doug Shupe. “We remind drivers to watch out for excited children on new riding toys and encourage parents to go over traffic safety tips before letting their kids enjoy the new gifts.”
As an advocate for the safety of travelers, AAA Texas offers the following advice to motorists and parents:
- Check your blind spots including the blind spot behind your vehicle that you cannot see in the rear or side view mirror.
- Always assume children could be present and carefully check streets, driveways and areas around your vehicle before backing out.
- Always look behind as you back out SLOWLY with windows rolled down to listen for children – and BE PREPARED TO STOP.
- Teach kids not to play in, under or around vehicles.
- Avoid making your driveway a “playground.” If you allow children in this area, make sure it’s only when vehicles are not present and separate the driveway from the roadway with a physical barrier to prevent cars from entering.
- Never leave a vehicle running and lock all cars and trucks, even in driveways and garages, to prevent curious children from putting a vehicle in gear.
- Talk with neighborhood parents about back-over incidents and ask them to talk with their children as well.
AAA along with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center recently evaluated 17 vehicles from 11 manufacturers that had different body styles and included both factory –installed and aftermarket rear-view camera systems. Researchers found rear-view camera systems improved rear visibility an average of 46 percent in AAA tests. This shows rear-view cameras are a great supplement for drivers and are especially helpful for viewing the first 10 feet behind the vehicle, which are the most dangerous in terms of backover risks for kids.
NHTSA says automakers must begin fitting vehicles with a rear view image system starting in May 2016, with full compliance by May of 2018. But rear-view cameras do not show 100 percent of the space behind the vehicle. So, AAA Texas encourages drivers to always walk around the vehicle to make sure nothing is behind it first, before using the rear-view camera as they back out. Also keep the lens clean because rain, snow or slush can cause blurry images.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.