Because of a 2018 rule, all new cars sold in the U.S. must have backup cameras. These cameras capture real-time footage of the space behind a vehicle and broadcast it onto screens for drivers to see. Many backup cameras also sound an alarm before drivers hit objects, with some even automatically activating vehicle braking systems.
While backup cameras undoubtedly prevent many accidents where drivers back over children, they may also give motorists a false sense of security. That is, if drivers do not recognize the limitations of backup cameras, the safety of children may be on the line.
The visual field
Backup cameras have come a long way in recent years. Still, even the best cameras only capture about an 80-degree visual field. This means there are places near the back of vehicles that backup cameras simply cannot see. Likewise, the view of many backup cameras only extends about 10 feet on either side of the vehicle.
Normal driver blind spots
The limited visual field of many backup cameras often coincides with driver blind spots. Consequently, if motorists do not look over their shoulders, glance in their mirrors or otherwise check blind spots for children, the backup camera may not do much good.
The nature of children
Because children are shorter than adults, they may be more difficult for drivers to see. Children also tend to be impulsive and may not recognize dangerous situations. Therefore, when reversing vehicles in places where children are likely to be, motorists must exercise additional caution.
If drivers rely too heavily on backup cameras, children ultimately may sustain serious and life-altering injuries in a backover accident. Fortunately, financial compensation may be available to help injured children recover completely from their injuries.