It’s always awful to hear about tragedies involving kids and cars, especially when they are preventable. In August 2022, a 4-year-old boy died after he was accidentally run over in the driveway of his family’s home in Huntington Station, New York. The boy’s mother, Naxi Moreira, told CBS2, “He was such a loving boy. He was always laughing. He had so much energy and so much things that he wanted to do.” Her son’s favorite place to play was the driveway. “We always used to argue with him to not play there, but kids, you know, you tell them not to do something and they end up doing whatever they want,” she said.
On that August morning, a 34-year-old cousin was dropping off some items at the house when her 2006 Lexus RX330 accidentally struck the child as she was pulling into the driveway. Lexus vehicles are known for their robust safety suites, but this technology was not available in 2006.
It’s More Common than You Think
Backup cameras designed to help detect children behind vehicles became standard equipment in 2018. But tragedies continue to claim the lives of children. That’s attributable to numerous factors, but primarily because small children can be hard to see in front of a car, and because neither rear nor front safety cameras are typically installed in older cars.
This technology, however, can easily be integrated at a reasonable price. Sue Auriemma, vice president of the the Kids and Cars safety group, said, “It brings me right back to the day when this happened to me. It’s remarkable that it’s still happening.” In 2005, Auriemma accidentally struck her daughter behind the car. Her daughter survived. “In 70 percent of the cases,” she said, “these front-overs and back-overs are a close family member. Sometimes, drivers just don’t realize there is this area that they can’t see.”
According to Kids and Cars, 52 children died in the U.S. last year as a result of back-overs and front-overs.
While some say it may be 20 years before all cars on the road have safety cameras and sensors, it is easy to retrofit older cars. Auriemma said, “We are starting to see more cameras come from the factory on the front, so that blind zone in the front of the vehicle is addressed as well. But in theory, those aftermarket cameras could be added both front and back.”
Sensors in the Front
In certain vehicles, it may be pricey to integrate a forward-facing camera system that automatically appears on the vehicle screen, but it can be done. Even if a full-on camera system is not installed in the front of the vehicle, a sensor solution can be easily implemented in the aftermarket by a VZAN automotive retailer. These systems are not expensive.
As a bonus, forward-facing sensors will give louder alert beeps as you get closer to an object. So, not only can it save lives, but it can also help save your front bumper. Technology can make all the difference in the world in saving you the high cost of property damage and the immeasurable cost of irreplaceable human lives.
Always check the front and back of the car before putting it into gear. Always be extra vigilant in all parking lot and driveway areas. If your vehicle doesn’t have the latest sensors, check with an authorized Vision Zero Automotive Network retailer (https://vzan.org/dealer-locator/) to retrofit life-saving technologies into your vehicle.