Driveway Safety

I read with horror last week that another toddler had been killed, after being run over in his driveway. It got me thinking, I had seen statistics that said this was a horribly common occurrence, so I did a little internet research and what I found was scarier then I thought.

The statistics are really scary basically in Australia, one toddler a WEEK is run over in their own driveway. To be honest if this statistic was a soldier in war being killed every week I am pretty sure the public would know about it and people would be screaming at the Government to do something.

The scary facts keep on coming too:

  • Most occur at the child’s home, or in the driveway of friends or relatives, where we tend to feel that the child is safe. Some also occur in backyards or car parks.
  • In most cases,the driver is a parent, relative or friend of the family.
  • Generally run overs involve young children under 5 years of age, but most are under 2 years of age.
  • The majority of vehicles involved are 4WD’s, utes, trucks, and vans, due to ‘blind spots’ and poor visibility, especially when reversing. However, sedans have also been involved.
  • In Australia, two-thirds of driveway run overs resulting in death have occurred in country areas.
  • Most driveway run overs occur during the day, particularly late afternoons between 3pm and 6pm. The most vulnerable period is late in the week – approaching and including the weekends.
  • Most run overs occur in fine weather and sunny conditions.
  • Young boys are at greatest risk.
  • 4WD vehicles are over-represented and possible linkages are demonstrated between the increasing popularity of 4WD’s and an increase in driveway accidents.2 4WD’s have blind spots whereby a toddler less than 3 metres from the vehicle is not visible to the driver. In Queensland cases, 41% of vehicles were 4WDs1, despite 4WDs making up only 6% of passenger vehicles in the state. Utes, vans and trucks are also involved more often than sedans, due to poor visibility from them. In 2000, the Henderson Report, commissioned by the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW, sparked a call to review safety standards for large vehicles.
  • In almost all cases, the environment provided no clear separation between the driveway, garage and rest of the yard where children played.

The saddest part is most driveway accidents are preventable.

Some tips to help prevent this from happening

  • Never leave a young child alone to play, especially near parked or moving vehicles.
  • Fencing, security doors, or gates can be used as barriers to reduce the risk of a young child getting to the driveway from the house.
  • In addition to providing barriers, some farming properties build a second driveway away from the house for farm vehicles to travel on.
  • Do not let a young child use the driveway as a play area. Create a safe play area away from the driveway.
  • Drivers should get into the habit of walking around their vehicle before getting into it when leaving an area where a young child is present.
  • Devices recommended for reducing the risk of driveway run overs use a combination of functioning proximity sensors and video cameras. Even when these are used it may be difficult to notice a small child until it is too late. It is important not to become complacent when using these devices.
  • If there is only one adult at home, and there is a need to move the vehicle, even for a small distance, ensure young children are placed securely in the vehicle with the adult, whilst the vehicle is being moved.
  • The driver should check that the car windows and mirrors are clean, and mirrors are positioned correctly for the driver’s height.

For more information please read these informative fact sheets put out by these great organisations

CARRSQ

Kidsafe SA

NRMA

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. stacybuckeye
    Mar 13, 2011 @ 05:06:16

    Whenever I see these stories I am so pained for the family. How hard would it be to live with that afterward?

    Reply

    • caspette
      Mar 14, 2011 @ 20:54:46

      I agree especially when statistically a family member will have done the running over.

      Nobody seems to know why though this is a growing trend.

      I have to be even more careful as we live in a unit block with a communal drive way that our garden gate opens on to. Will be putting a combo lock on that soon.

      Reply

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