An Australian researcher predicts backup cameras could become mandatory on 4-wheel-drive vehicles to prevent the deaths of children.
University of Queensland researcher Bronwyn Griffin says she believes this could happen after her study into reversing accidents is handed to Parliament by mid-2011.
Griffin says 196 children were injured seriously in low-speed accidents and 18 killed in the past five years in the Australian state of Queensland.
“Queensland has the highest death rate in the nation, probably because we have a higher proportion of 4-wheel drives,” she is quoted as saying by Brisbane’s The Courier-Mail newspaper.
Griffin’s comments come at a demonstration of vehicle rear blindspots held as part of an awareness campaign for national Fatality Free Friday.
“Nothing replaces parental vigilance,” she says. “Technology such as rearview cameras can't be trusted completely. It's a great aid, but it doesn't eliminate the problem. Also, it's not affordable to all families.”
FFF founder Russell White says it’s wrong to cite only 4WD vehicles as a problem.
While such models were involved in 10 of the 18 fatalities, passenger cars accounted for most accidents causing major injuries and 84% of vehicles involved in low-speed run-over incidents were passenger vehicles.
He says a Holden Commodore sedan with a trunk-mounted spoiler has a blindspot 49 ft. (15 m) long, compared with 11.8 ft. (3.6 m) for a Land Rover Discovery.
The demonstration also included a Holden Barina with a 19.7-ft. (6-m) blindspot and aTarago with a 33.-ft. (10.1-m) blindspot.
“I would have expected the 4WD to be the worst, but you can't pigeonhole them as all the same,” White is quoted as saying. “Some of our sedans are a bigger problem. It depends more on the design of the vehicle rather than the type.”
Griffin says most of these accidents happened in home driveways.