Last weekend a former NFL player accidentally ran over and killed his three-year old daughter while moving his truck in his driveway.
Tragically, thousands of children have lost their lives because of this type of accident. They are referred to as “frontovers,” “backovers” or “rollovers.” They happen when a driver is unable to see a child in front of or behind their vehicle and hits or runs over the child. They usually happen when the driver is backing out of a driveway or parking space, or pulling forward.
All cars, trucks, SUVs and vans have blind zones in the front and rear of the vehicle. If anyone is sitting or standing in this blind zone then a driver cannot see them. Several automakers have installed rear backup cameras and beepers on their automobiles to reduce the likelihood of rollover tragedies occurring; however, these should not be relied on entirely. A driver should still be aware of the blind zone for their particular vehicle and make sure the surrounding area is clear before moving.
SUVs and trucks are large vehicles with limited visibility. It can be very difficult to see a child standing behind or in front of such large vehicles. Kids n' Cars, a non-profit organization that focuses on vehicle safety for children, did an experiment to show just how difficult it can be to see kids behind large automobiles. In the experiment, the organization wanted to see how many children could sit behind an SUV without being seen by the driver. In the end, they were able to fit 62 kids behind the large SUV without the driver being able to see them.
Rollovers are not the only tragic non-traffic injuries or deaths that occur when it comes to kids and cars. Other non-traffic accidents, those that happen off public roads or highways, include:
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Vehicles with keyless ignitions are especially problematic because it's sometimes difficult to hear if the engine is still running. As a result, people unknowingly leave their vehicles running in the garage.
- Heat Stroke – Caused from being left in a hot car. Temperatures as low as 60 degrees outside can reach over 100 degrees in a car.
- Power Windows – A child can suffocate if their head gets trapped in the closing window.
- Trunk Entrapment – Every child should know how to use the internal trunk release mechanism, which became standard for every vehicle after September 1, 2001.
- Underage Driving – Keep keys out of reach of children.
- Vehicle Set in Motion – Keep parking brakes on and check to see that your car can't be shifted into gear without your foot on the break.
- Falls from Vehicles – especially large trucks or SUVs that sit high off the ground.
The best case scenario is that we prevent these types of tragic accidents from ever happening again. No family should have to suffer a preventable death of a loved one from a rollover or other cause.
Once something like this does happen, however, the legal system can help with addressing any negligence or defect in vehicles that may have contributed to the injuries. Cases in this area can involve negligence, defective products, or other legal issues. If you would like to speak with us about a case, we offer no-fee initial consultations, and we can help you determine what your legal options are. Call our office at 478-238-9758 or complete an online contact form.