Cobb County Toddler Run Over by Car Backing Out of Driveway


December 21, 2010

Last week we published an article in this blog about the serious danger posed to toddlers and other small children from back up accidents including vehicles pulling out of driveways. How serious is this danger? The Atlanta Constitution-Journal reported that a Cobb County toddler was hit and killed when he wandered behind his father's Toyota Tundra as his father backed out of the driveway on Saturday.

This horrible tragedy had all of the features typically seen in back up accidents including: 

• A toddler wandering behind a vehicle chasing a departing parent

• The child being struck by a close family member

• A larger vehicle which is higher off the ground creating a larger blind spot behind the vehicle

• Failure of the driver to walk behind the vehicle and check for objects or pedestrians

• A parent who was unaware of the location of the child when pulling out of the driveway

Accidents involving toddlers hit by family members backing out of the driveway are easily avoided by simply taking a couple seconds to check the rear of the vehicle before backing up. Unfortunately, this is a basic safety measure that very few drivers choose to perform. While it may be inconvenient, it is hard to imagine a more devastating event than the tragic death of one's child in a fatal car accident that could have been so easily avoided. An increasing number of conscientious parents are learning the terrible lesson that one of the most dangerous places for toddlers lies close to home in the family driveway.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) children ages 1 to 4 represent only 6% of the U.S. population but account for 30% of back up fatality accident victims that occur in parking lots and driveways. It has been estimated that well over a hundred small children are killed in back up crashes annually. However, data on driveway and parking lot fatality accidents has not been consistently monitored by federal agencies so many traffic safety experts believe the actual casualty rate in parking lots and driveway accidents is much higher. Even when back up driveway or parking lot accidents involving toddlers do not result in fatalities, they still tend to result in serious injuries including skull fractures, broken bones and crushed chests.

Toddlers and other small children are particularly vulnerable to this type of accident for a number of reasons including:

• Their small size makes them harder to see

• Toddlers are not able to appreciate the risk posed by a motor vehicle that is backing up

• Small children tend to be energetic and curious making their behavior unpredictable

It is hardly surprising that this recent tragedy involved a pickup truck. Larger vehicles including SUVs, pickups and vans have larger blind spots and less visibility, which means that they pose a great risk to toddlers that wander behind them. One study involving a children's hospital found that almost two-thirds of the injuries or deaths from driveway accidents involved SUVs or pickups.

We can only hope that parents who read about this tragedy will take the extra step of walking behind their vehicle before backing out of the driveway or better yet install safety equipment like backup cameras. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing those seriously injured in Georgia backup accidents for over 25 years. Our Georgia pedestrian accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.