New Jersey drivers are familiar with their vehicle’s blind zones. It is that area that is not visible to a driver when they are going in reverse in a parking lot, backing out of a garage or going down the driveway to head off to work. According to Consumer Reports, which tested the size of blind spots of common vehicles using both a taller driver (5’8”) as well as a shorter driver (5’1”):
- Midsized sedans have a blind spot of approximately 13 feet.
- Midsized SUVs have a blind spot of 18 feet.
- Minivans, which are commonly driven by parents of small children, have a blind spot that extends from 15 to 26 feet depending on the make and model as well as the height of the driver.
- A pick-up has a blind spot ranging from 23 to 34 feet.
The tremendous size of these blind spots helps to explain why backover accidents cause more than 200 fatalities and approximately 15,000 injuries annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The non-profit known as KidAndCars.org reports that a majority of backover accidents involve a parent or related driver, such as a grandparent. In order to reduce the nationwide risk of backover accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed rear visibility standards that go into effect in May of 2018. At that time, new vehicles, including buses and trucks under 10,000 pounds, will be required to have rear visibility technology that allows the area behind the vehicle to be visible to the driver when the vehicle is placed into reverse.
Reducing Blind Zones
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety test results confirm that rear cameras reduce the size of a vehicle’s blind zone by as much as ninety percent. Rear cameras do not prevent all collisions, however, even when used in connection with parking sensors that use ultrasonic sound waves or radar to detect people and things surrounding a vehicle. In particular, rear cameras do not appear as effective in certain weather and lighting conditions, such as clouds and rain.
To further reduce backover accident risks even with the use of rear-facing cameras, KidsAndCars.org suggests the following:
- Prior to driving, be certain to physically walk around and behind your vehicle if you are leaving a residence or other area with children.
- Because large SUV’s, vans and trucks can increase the size of the blind spot, it is critical to give extra precaution when driving such a vehicle.
- Keep your radio and cell phones off to eliminate distractions when driving in reverse.
Our New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
Even after all vehicles are equipped with rear cameras, it will remain important for all drivers to look behind and around their vehicles in order to minimize or even eliminate backover accidents. Even adult passengers can assist with an extra set of eyes looking around the vehicle before it moves into reverse.
If a family member was injured in a backover accident, it is important to contact a personal injury attorney at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A. to review the specifics of your case as soon as possible.