The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

NHTSA Report: Nearly 100 Children Killed in Backovers in 2007

January 28, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Nearly 100 children died and 2,000 were injured in 2007 because they were backed over by vehicles, most commonly in residential driveways, according to a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

The NHTSA study included data on backover deaths and other "non-traffic" deaths and injuries. A 2008 law now requires the agency to track data for incidents in which children are backed over, strangled by power windows or killed from being left in hot vehicles.

The report concluded that overall, 221 adults and children were killed in 2007 by backing-up vehicles, and 14,000 were injured. Ninety-nine of the deaths and 2,000 of the injuries involved children age 14 and under.

"These are unnecessary deaths," Judith Lee Stone, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, told the Associated Press. "We know that when vehicle safety is improved to address these issues with better rear vision and better ways of identifying children and other pedestrians in the driveway and the parking lot we will see these numbers go down."

In 2008, Congress passed legislation, sponsored by former New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, requiring future vehicles to offer additional mirrors, sensor devices or cameras to help reduce blind spots. By 2010, new vehicles will need to have brake interlock systems. These devices prevent a vehicle from shifting out of park unless the brake pedal is depressed.

NHTSA estimated that 393 people were killed and 20,000 were injured in crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists in driveways, parking lots, private roads and trails in 2007.

In a separate review, AP reported, the government found that 168 people were killed from 2003 to 2004 when they were pinned or trapped under vehicles, usually while working on a vehicle that fell from its supports. A total of 147 people were killed from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning from vehicle exhaust.

Other types of fatalities in 2003-04 included: 88 deaths from falling from a vehicle (typically from the tailgate or roof), 57 deaths from vehicle fires, 44 deaths from being struck by an object such as a tree, a rock or cargo, 37 deaths from excessive heat and 14 deaths from excessive cold. The report estimated that five people were killed from vehicle window asphyxia.

Also, the study estimated that nearly 150,000 people suffered injuries by slamming the door on their fingers or hands. About 88,000 were injured when they overexerted themselves unloading cargo or pushing stalled vehicles.

The 2007 data was culled from police reports sent to NHTSA through its existing crash data collection system. The 2003-2004 data was based on mortality data acquired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Vital Statistics System.


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