Anyone who has has been involved in – or responsible for – a Massachusetts automotive backover accident knows all too well the horror that ensues from such a terrible event. First comes the shock of knowing that you have actually backed over an adult – or a child – with your car. Then comes the emotional pain of possibly being responsible for such a terrible accident – and one that seems so highly preventable. As a Boston backover accident attorney representing injured parties, I know all about the recriminations plus the guilt and grief that responsible parties experience, in the wake of backover car accidents.
But nothing can compare to the tremendous serious personal injuries -- and deaths -- that affect the victims of Massachusetts backover car accidents. The devastation that vehicle backover accidents experience can be overwhelming. You can only imagine the pain, suffering and deaths that occur when tons of steel hit a human being. Children are especially vulnerable as victims of car backover accidents, as they do not understand the danger of playing near a car. In addition, their small size makes it difficult for drivers to see them in the rear-view mirror. The elderly are also vulnerable. If you were to be hit by a car – even one going only five miles per hour or less -- you would suffer broken bones, possibly a broken neck or back – and in many cases, death.
The most recent statistics, from 2010, indicate that every year more than 210 people die, while 15,000 more people are injured, in car backover accidents. These figures come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But the NHTSA has just issued a ruling to try and reduce those statistics. The new NHTSA ruling requires all light vehicles – which includes cars, trucks, SUVs and vans -- to have “rear-view visibility systems,” which essentially means that these vehicles must have backup cameras. These cameras must afford all drivers a view directly behind the vehicle, measuring 10 feet by 20 feet. This rule would become final in the next two months or so, and would begin a two-year phase in period in 2016, becoming universally effective in 2018.
The NHTSA says that perhaps up to 69 lives will be saved annually, due to these new rear-view systems. Due to consumer demand, many automakers have already begun offering these new devices as standard or optional features. But there are still many vehicles on the road without such cameras.
Do you have a rear-view camera in your car yet? As a Dedham, Massachusetts backover accident lawyer, I cannot stress enough how important it is to still drive carefully and defensively, even if your vehicle is already so equipped. My advice? Always stay alert. And drive safely. And if you don’t have such a device in your car yet, when you are backing up your vehicle, always make sure to do so S-L-O-W-L-Y and with great caution. No matter the case, you can never be too careful when you put your car into reverse, with or without a backup camera installed in your car. You just might spare someone’s life.