Everybody knows there are blind spots around the vehicle where the
driver can not see; unfortunately, many people don't realize how big
the blind spot behind their vehicle actually is. Did you know that rear
blind spots can stretch as far as 75 feet behind some larger vehicles,
or that as many as 20 young children could be standing behind the
average SUV and still be invisible to a driver's rearview mirrors?
Kids and Cars (www.KidsAndCars.org) is a non-profit consumer organization that works tirelessly to make it safer for children to be in and around cars. Their research notes that more than 742 children were involved in accidents in and around cars in 2006; 219 resulted in fatalities. There were already 84 deaths as of May 18, 2007, and a significant percentage of these fatalities involved children who were killed when a driver -- unable to see them in the driver's blind spot -- backed over them. Unfortunately, very often that driver was a family member.
Too many children are falling needless victim to a tragedy that could easily be averted. On May 24, 2007, The Today Show aired a very informative segment entitled "Kids and the Risks of Reversing," which shares several tragic backover stories, demonstrates how large these rear blindspots can be, and identifies several aftermarket products currently on the market that can help improve rearward visibility on any vehicle.
Union and Kids and Cars have been working with Congress on legislation
that will establish basic safety regulations and require that new cars
include technology designed to reduce incidences of child injury and
death occurring inside and outside of motor vehicles. The legislation
directs the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue safety
standards to address three key problem areas in vehicles; it also
includes a data collection provision and consumer education program to
help and encourage parents and caregivers to keep children safe in and
around vehicles. Early in December the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a bill on
a voice vote that will require federal regulators to consider ways of
diminishing blind zones in large SUVs and pickups, prevent vehicles
from rolling away, and make power windows safer.
Applying Safer Backing Technology
American Road Products is one of the first companies to produce an effective aftermarket solution for those cars that do not have factory-installed backup warning systems. The product was conceived by an actual incident that occurred while a grandfather was watching his granddaughter playing in front of her home. In this event, the child was enjoying her new tricycle, navigating her driveway and that of an adjacent neighbor, when the neighbor began backing out of her driveway. A terrible accident was narrowly averted when the driver serendipitously stopped her vehicle upon hearing the alarm of a passing emergency vehicle.
After witnessing this nearly tragic incident, the ReverseGUARD was conceived. Its state-of-the-art technology alerts the driver when people or objects are within six to eight feet of the rear of the vehicle by emitting an intermittent warning alarm inside the vehicle. Additionally, the system automatically engages when the vehicle is shifted into reverse gear, requiring no action from the driver to activate.
has the appearance and feel of a factory-installed system thanks to a
no-holes-in-the-bumper design that looks like a license plate frame,
can be easily mounted on a center-mounted license plate, and was
designed to fit virtually all private passenger and commercial
vehicles. The latest innovation is the Complete ReverseGUARD system,
which also includes a full low-light camera system as well as the
sensor technology that has proven its effectiveness for more than eight
Over the years, magazines like Motor Trend and Consumer Reports, and other industry professionals (even AskPatty.com!) have given kudos to the ReverseGUARD system for its safety technology, ease of use, and streamlined installation. For more information on ReverseGUARD, visit americanroadproductsinc.com.
By Brandy Schaffels