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The backover problem

Drivers in Alabama should check the area around them carefully before putting a motor vehicle in reverse and backing out of a parking space. A person who has new technology such as rearview cameras and sensors on the vehicle may feel more confident about the process. However, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, even these may not be enough to prevent a backover crash.

Children under five years old and seniors ages 70 and older are the most likely age groups to be injured or killed by a vehicle moving in reverse. Studies indicate that backover collisions injure approximately 15,000 people each year, and more than 250 are killed. These numbers do not include a collision between a vehicle in reverse and another vehicle. Researchers believe the statistics may be higher because backover accidents typically happen in driveways and other residential parking spaces, and most data reflects only the crashes that occur on roadways.

While there is evidence that rearview cameras and sensors reduce the number of crashes to some degree, drivers primarily only receive alerts when there is an unmoving object behind the vehicle. Researchers discovered that the technology was not as effective at detecting a moving object designed to be the size of a young toddler.

According to Edmunds.com, the technology may pose an actual crash risk for some drivers. Those who rely too heavily on the screen displaying the view from the rear of the vehicle may fail to do a mirror and head check that would catch an object missed by the equipment. Inclement weather, darkness and other visibility problems may contribute, so drivers are encouraged to regard the technology as assistance rather than replacement for careful observation.

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