Earlier this year, tragedy struck in North Florida when a 2-year-old girl was killed when she was run over in her own driveway by a vehicle her father’s boss was driving. It occurred around 11 a.m. when the father’s boss came to check on how he was progressing on a side job. News4Jax reported the girl was struck as she ran around behind the truck as the driver was backing out. Her injuries proved fatal. The ginger-haired tot was just one month shy of her second birthday.
Horrific as the crash was, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates about 50 kids a week are struck in the U.S. in so-called “backover accidents.”
These are just one in a sub-category of crashes that are referred to as “non-traffic accidents.” That is, while they involve motor vehicles, they do not occur in a typical traffic setting, such as on a public road. They happen in driveways or parking lots or when a vehicle rolls away because it’s unattended. Interestingly, prior to 2012, the NHTSA did not keep track of these type of incidents as a group. Then in 2007, Congress ordered the agency to start collecting and maintaining information pertinent to these non-traffic accidents. It is only now that we have a report on the findings.
According to the August 2016 NHTSA report on “Fatality and Injury Statistics in Non-Traffic Crashes, 2012-2014,” an average of 1,900 people are killed each year in non-traffic motor vehicle crashes over the course of the three-year analysis. Of those, about one-third (34 percent) were non-occupants, such as bicyclists or pedestrians. Additionally, an average of 92,000 people were injured in these types of crashes and, again, about one-third were non-occupants.
Over the full course of the analysis period, there were 5,695 people killed in these types of accidents. Of the non-occupants in these cases, 42 percent were hit when the vehicle was moving forward, while 35 percent lost their lives when the vehicle was backing up. Roll-away vehicles accounted for 360 deaths during this three-year time frame.
Also during this time, a total of 277,000 people were injured in these accidents. Of those who were injured, 40 percent involved back-overs. Roll-away vehicle incidents resulted in about 2,000 injuries to non-occupants annually. The majority of occupants who were injured were involved in single-vehicle crashes, though about 37 percent involved multiple vehicles.
The NHTSA had originally announced a rule years ago that would have required rear backup cameras to be installed in all vehicles by model year 2014. Unfortunately, auto industry lobbyists pushed hard to have this rule delayed, complaining of logistics and costs. The good news is that the agency introduced the rule again in 2016, and all new vehicles made in model year 2018 or later should be equipped with them. That hopefully will cut down on a significant number of these car accident injuries in parking lots and private driveways.
Most back-over accidents involve larger vehicles, such as pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, and smaller humans – most commonly children between the ages of 2 and 4. Often, the driver is a family member or close friend.
Even in such situations, it’s important to discuss the case with an experienced accident lawyer. In cases where a child suffers injury, costs for medical expenses and long-term treatment may be extensive. Where the accident results in a fatality, parents or siblings may need intensive counseling and other services.
We can help.
If you have been a victim of a traffic accident, call Chalik & Chalik at (954) 476-1000 or 1 (800) 873-9040.
Fatality and Injury Statistics in Non-Traffic Crashes, 2012-2014, August 2016, NHTSA
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Great West Cas. Co. v. Robbins – Truck Accident Insurance Dispute Weighed by 7th Circuit, Aug. 17, 2016, Miami Car Accident Lawyer Blog