Each year, a high number of backover accidents occur across the U.S., often resulting in serious injuries or death. Backover collisions occur when drivers reverse into nonoccupants, such as children playing, pedestrians, or bicyclists. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, backing crashes cause an average of 13,000 injuries and 232 deaths annually. 

Why Do Backing Accidents Happen?

Backover crashes that happen on driveways, in parking lots, or in other areas occur for various reasons. Most vehicles, particularly larger-sized trucks and SUVs, may have significant blind spots. For shorter drivers, these blindspots may extend even farther. Consequently, drivers involved in backing accidents often simply do not see the person or people they hit.

In addition to visibility, the ages and behaviors of the nonoccupants involved in backover wrecks may also contribute to their occurrence. For example, young children and elderly adults may have the greatest risk of involvement in a backover crash. Those in these high-risk groups may not recognize boundaries or the danger posed by even slow-moving vehicles and they may have decreased impulse control. Additionally, it is a common misconception that if people can see the vehicle or its mirrors, then drivers can see them.

How Can Backover Accidents Be Prevented?

People may take numerous precautions to help avoid backing crashes. Some steps that may help drivers and parents prevent their children or others from suffering serious injuries caused by backover accidents include:

  • Not allowing children to play in the driveway
  • Teaching children not to play behind parked vehicles
  • Walking around the vehicle to check for nonoccupants and other hazards before moving it
  • Rolling down the windows when backing up to hear any warnings

If their vehicles do not have rearview cameras or backup sensors, people may consider adding this technology aftermarket.

What Is the DOT’s Rearview Visibility Rule?

To cut down on the occurrence of backing crashes, the DOT implemented a rule aimed at expanding the field of view for most passenger cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans. Under the rule, which took full effect in 2018, drivers must have a full view of the area behind their vehicles when they shift into reverse. To meet the DOT standard, many vehicle manufacturers have started including rearview camera systems; a measure anticipated by many to help save countless lives.