Why So Many Backover Accidents?

Every year thousand of children and adults are injured and scores are killed as a result of vehicles backing into these victims. Most back up accidents involve children under the age of 5 and elderly persons over 60 yrs. of age. These backing up deaths occur in SUVs, passenger cars, trucks and commercial trucks as well. In 1998 the backup deaths associated with the different vehicle types are as follows:

Vehicle Type

# of Victims

Sport Utility Vehicles – SUV




Pickup truck


Passenger Car


Truck – Delivery


Truck – Dump


Truck – Garbage/Recycling  


Truck Other


Unclear/ Unknown Type


Total – Backing up Deaths


Of the 91 back up deaths listed above, 21 occurred in the driveway of a person’s home, another 21 occurred in or at the area of the home, 21 occurred in a parking lot (school, shopping mall or business area), 13 occurred in the street while a vehicle was backing up, 2 occurred over a sidewalk and lastly 13 occurred in an off road area (field, yard, woods, park, etc).

Death certificate research and an examination of other sources confirm that the annual number of deaths resulting from vehicles backing up is small in comparison to deaths due to other types of vehicle crashes. In spite of these relatively small numbers, there are certain characteristics of these incidents that emerged from both the original research conducted for this report and in academic research examined.

Very young children, particularly those between one and four years of age, seem especially vulnerable to being killed by a vehicle backing up. Off-road locations, such as driveways and parking lots, are common locations where backing incidents occur. The drivers of vehicles involved in these types of incidents are often parents, relatives or other people, such as neighbors, known to the family of the children involved. Larger vehicles for personal use, such as SUVs, van and pickup trucks, are often the vehicles involved in these types of backing up accidents / incidents and especially as the popularity and mammoth size of these vehicles increase, so will the death rates of children.

Backup Alarms & Backup Sensors

Due to the tragic frequency of backing up deaths, many companies have started selling back up alarms and back up sensors to not only warn a child of the vehicle backing up, but also to alert the driver of the presence of the danger. Back alarms have been around for decades and are commonly used on large commercial vehicles, trucks, garbage trucks and in many industrial settings. Not until the past few years did the SUV, Light Truck and Passenger car manufacturers wake up and recognize this danger and the simple solutions available to prevent many of the backing deaths and injuries. In addition to alarms and sensors, rear view cameras are also being sold to help assist the driver as well.


A back up sensor activates automatically once the car goes into reverse gear. Some back up warning systems informs the driver when the rear of the bumper is at the distance of between 6 ft to 0.0 ft away from the obstacle, object or child, while giving 3+ different kind of beeping tones at the same time when each stage of distance is reached. A back up alarm however does not distinguish distances, or warning of even the existence of a child behind the vehicle, this backing up device, only produces an audible alarm while the vehicle has been placed into reverse.

According to Consumer Reports, backup sensors are a handy device to help assist drivers in parking situations, but should not be considered a safety device. In fact, Consumer Reports and many others favor the use of rearview cameras like have been in use in the large RV market for years. The combination of a back up alarm, or backup sensor along with a rear view camera and TV monitor is the best approach to preventing reverse or backover accidents.

Optional Rearview Cameras & Backup Sensors

Currently dozens of vehicles since 2003 are offering as optional equipment, back up sensors and even rear view backup cameras. While this is a good step in making safer vehicles, The Willis Firm opposes any manufacturer that ” makes safety an option”. Rearview cameras and backup sensors should be standard equipment on all vehicles. When they become mandatory, the prices will come down, and so will the numbers of accidental deaths and serious injuries to children and others. A few manufactures are offering back up sensors as standard equipment on their high end vehicles, but not the low end or standard models. Shouldn’t children exposed to moderate or lower priced vehicles be afforded the same zone of safety. We think so!

Products Liability Injury Lawsuits – Lack Of Back Up Alarms, Backup Sensors & Rearview Cameras

If you or a family member has been seriously injured or a loved one killed by a vehicle that was backing up and that vehicle did not come equipped with a backup alarm, backup sensor and/or a rearview camera and monitor, then call the Willis Law Firm to discuss your legal options. Due to the nature of a products liability lawsuit, certain evidence must be preserved, photographs taken and witness statements recorded. Further, it is very important that you discuss your legal options concerning a products liability action with an attorney before you settle with the auto liability insurance policy that covers the vehicle in question.Settlement with the auto policy may make the products case much more difficult to pursue and have the effect of an admission against the owner / driver. Additionally, settling with the driver may force the case into Federal court instead of a local state district court setting.

Texas Accident Attorney, Texas Injury LawyerCall our firm to discuss your options. All calls and consultations are free and completely confidential. No attorneys fees are expenses are ever charged to the client unless we make you a recovery. Talk to Mr. Willis, a Board Certified Personal Injury Trial Lawyer,certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Nationwide Assistance Available.

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