By Michael Pines, Accident & Injury Prevention Expert
Many car accidents in San Diego are preventable. Driving under the influence, distracted driving and even basic human error are just some of the ways car accidents occur but can easily be avoided. When accidents are caused purely on the basis of hindered visibility – such as accidents caused by backing into a pedestrian -- the frustration is even more concerning. That’s because these types of accidents can be prevented with existing technology.
By now, we ought to have standardized vehicle systems that aim to improve the safety of everyone on our roadways – not just those who can afford it. And it seems the federal government follows the same sentiment. In its latest recommendation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Tuesday it would add rear-view camera systems to its list of safety features submitted to all car manufacturers in an effort to reduce accidents and improve safety.
The New Car Assessment Program initiated by the NHTSA encourages car makers to equip vehicles with standardized safety equipment. Now, rear-view video systems will be added to the list of recommended features – but is it enough?
Some safety groups say the recommendation, although laudable, falls flat. Standardized rear-view cameras were universally passed as law in 2008 with a 2011 deadline. Still, the initiative continues to stall with this latest recommendation.
“Safety advocates are concerned that NHTSA's announcement is an attempt to divert attention from their failure to act,” said Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety according to the
The U.S. Department of Transportation says that more than 200 people are killed every year in accidents caused by backing up – also known as “backover” accidents. An additional 17,000 individuals are further injured – and the number has tragically grown.
Children are the most susceptible to backover accidents. Forty-four percent of all backover fatalities are children, and most of the time, the driver is a parent or family member. According to a report published by the NHTSA in December 2010, rear-view cameras could cut the fatalities and injuries in half.
Until cameras are universally standardized, here’s what you can do to stay safe.
TAKE ACTION TODAY: WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT THE NEXT BACKOVER ACCIDENT?
The truth is that even when rear-view cameras become standardized equipment, it will take years for everyone to be well-equipped. That’s because not everyone will spring for a new car right away; and those who do may purchase used cars without rear-view cameras. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make changes today to prevent the next backover accident in San Diego. Take action today!
INSTALL YOUR OWN REAR-VIEW CAMERA.
Did you know you can easily install your own rear-view camera? You don’t need a flashy in-dash camera system to be safe. A rear-view mirror/camera combination is the ideal choice and runs for just under $100 making this piece of equipment relatively affordable, especially when you can save potential lives with its use.
Here’s a really easy and affordable way to stay safe – install a simple back-up alarm. For just under $10, you can add an alarm to your vehicle that warns pedestrians, including the little ones, that your vehicle is backing up. This alarm is especially great for any household with children.
ADJUSTABLE BLIND SPOT MIRROR.
Our side mirrors don’t give us a clear view of the entire picture. A small adjustable blind spot mirror placed in the corner of your existing side mirror can give you an advantage when backing up. At only roughly $10, this mirror could literally be a lifesaver.
It may go without saying, but you should always approach backing up in a slow and oriented fashion. Avoid quick movements and
look behind you. Use your side mirrors and be extra cautious on downhill driveways or cul-de-sacs where visibility can be hindered.
About Michael Pines
Michael Pines is a personal injury attorney at the
in San Diego, California. He is an accident and injury prevention expert, on a campaign to end senseless injury one article at a time. Catch Mike on