Preventing Backup Accidents with Cameras – Does It Work?

Preventing Backup Accidents with Cameras – Does It Work?Driveway back overs are a parent’s and driver’s worst nightmare, and adults can be injured in a backing up accident as well as children. Responsibility in back over car accidents usually falls on the driver who backs into the other vehicle, an object, or a person. Drivers must always remember to be alert, look behind the vehicle, and use rear view mirrors to check for pedestrians or other vehicles in their path.

According to, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to saving children’s lives, “Every year, thousands of children are killed or seriously injured because a driver backing up didn’t see them. A back over incident typically takes place when a car is backing out of a driveway or parking space.” Per the organization:

  • At least fifty children are being backed over by vehicles every week in the United States
  • The predominant age of victims is 12-23 months
  • About 60% of back overs involve larger vehicles like SUVs and pickup trucks

Some of the most common places for back over accidents are driveways and parking lots, especially school lots, and assisted living lots.

Arming vehicles with backup cameras is newly mandated for all vehicles and is hopefully helping to prevent these back over tragedies and injuries from happening. The NHTSA reminds us that “Rearview video systems are not a replacement for mirrors or turning around to look; rather, they’re an added safety tool for revealing hidden dangers.” Responsibility still remains on the driver to check before pulling out of a driveway or a parking spot.

What the data shows regarding camera use and back over accidents

A 2016 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study concluded that cameras reduced back over accidents by 16%, and that drivers aged over 70 benefitted the most from the use of the cameras. In fact, rear-view cameras reduced back over crashes in older drivers by 40%, but only by 15% in younger drivers. These rear-view cameras may be more useful for older drivers who may have trouble turning their heads to look over their shoulders.

In addition to pedestrian incidents, backup cameras also help prevent parking accidents. The cameras help guide drivers when parallel parking, they take the guesswork out of this tricky skill and result in less fender benders while parallel parking in tight spaces.

Motorbiscuit reports that rear-view camera systems provide, “a broader field of vision for accident avoidance.” The systems give us eyes beyond the rear window, and trunk level which helps to eliminate trunk-level blind spots.

As of May 2018, all passenger cars, trucks, vans and vehicles under 10,000 pounds have been required to include rear view monitoring technology by federal law. Before this rule went into effect, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 210 individuals were killed and 15,000 were injured each year by vehicles backing over them. Sadly, those statistics also showed that 31% of those killed were children under 5 years old.

Why relying solely on backup cameras can lead to accidents

Backup cameras do help reduce car accidents, but they cannot – and should not – replace common sense behind the wheel. For example, as it usually happens with recent technology, there have been numerous recalls due to faulty cameras over the past five years, including a Ford recall due to distortion of images and blank screens in rear view cameras. Honda has also had to issue recalls due to a glitch in the software causing blank screens or delayed images. Similar recalls have also been made for Tesla, Porsche, and Nissan.

Consumer reports recently reported on a Volkswagen backup camera recall. The article noted, “A faulty backup camera means that these vehicles may be in violation of a specific federal motor vehicle safety standard that requires new vehicles to have rear visibility technology installed as standard equipment.”

Drivers who rely entirely on their rearview cameras, as opposed to those who also check their mirrors and windows, may miss a pedestrian, car, or object in the roadway and cause an accident. It also leaves them open to civil liability in the event someone is injured. Drivers are responsible for their own actions.

However, manufacturers may also be liable under certain circumstances. For example, say the backup camera glitches, causing a two-second delay. A driver looks through the mirrors and windows and sees it is clear behind him. He checks his camera, which shows the same thing – but in that two-second window, a child walks behind the car. In such an instance, the manufacturer may be held partially responsible.

This type of personal injury claim could become tricky for the average consumer, which is why you must speak to an experienced Mississippi car accident attorney if injured in a backup accident.

Merkel & Cocke, P.A., has been representing clients injured in car accidents since 1982. We provide aggressive legal representation for our car accident victims. We will investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident and find out who or what was responsible. If the vehicle involved had faulty rear view camera technology, we will find out and hold the involved parties accountable. If you have been involved in an accident involving faulty rear-view cameras, please call our office at 662-627-9641, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We operate offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, Greenville and Oxford to better serve you.