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John Bisnar
John Bisnar
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Backover Deaths Can Be Prevented

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One hundred children die in “backover” accidents each year.

Every week, at least two children are killed and 50 more are injured in automobile “backover” accidents. Unfortunately, rear cameras and audible warning sensors that could help prevent such tragedies are not standard or considered “must have”, safety equipment by auto manufacturers. And, while such safety equipment is offered as an option on many vehicles, it is doubtful that they will ever be mandated in cars, trucks or SUVs.

Consider the case of 2-year-old Adrianna. Adrianna had just shared a bath with her mom, Rachel and while mom was drying her hair Adrianna slipped out of the house and into the garage where her dad, David, was moving the family’s SUV so that he could get into a storage area to remove some Halloween decorations. In a second Adrianna was dead and nothing could bring her back. Neither her 7-year-old brother, or her mom or her dad will ever be the same.

It has been 2 ½ years since Adrianna died and her parents still can’t understand what went wrong. They took every safety precaution to protect their children that they could think of- installing a very tall fence around the family pool, making certain that the latch was so high no child could reach it. But, when they bought their Q-45 SUV the salesperson did not encourage rear cameras or audible devices to prevent a “backover” accident. Instead, the salesperson encouraged them to get a sunroof.

Five years ago pediatrician Greg Gulbransen went out into the night to re-park his truck so that he wouldn’t have to fight traffic in the morning when he left for work. Greg was doing his best to back up slowly between parked cars when he felt a bump, and as he continued to back up he saw the most horrifying sight – his small son in his headlights. Greg’s son, Cameron, died in his arms, and he and his wife Leslie have never been the same. It isn’t like the technology wasn’t there! Warning sensors add approximately $100 to the cost of a car, and cameras run around $300. What a shame!

The group Kids and Cars offer education and seek to raise awareness of “backover” fatalities.

According to “Good Morning America” consumer correspondent Greg Hunter, part of the “backover fatality” problem is, as cars get bigger, drivers have a bigger blind spot and a harder time seeing what’s behind them.

Child safety devices should be standard on all cars and SUVs, and for $300 or less how can we afford to not have them? What is a child’s life worth anyway?

Last week we ordered a new BMW X5 to replace our Yukon, which I now consider to unstable and weak roofed to have my family in. We chose to equip our new BMW X5 with a rear-view camera and park distance control even though our children are in their twenties. The park distance control beeps if something is close to the front or rear bumper when starting, stopping or parking. Combined, they were an additional $700.

It is tough to always know where your children and the neighbor children are every time you move your car but what may the consequences be for not knowing? Seven hundred dollars is a lot of money to spend for safety equipment. However, I’d bet that Greg Gulbransen would pay any price to have had it on his truck, as would Adrianna’s parents.

Be safe, check around your vehicle. Know where your children are when moving your vehicles. Pay the extra for safety equipment. The cost of not having it is way too high.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.