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Fatal injury of child will not be reported in primary NHTSA stats

Approximately two weeks ago, a 4-year-old boy died after his neighbor backed a motor vehicle over the top of him. Unfortunately, tragic car accident deaths like this happen frequently in Tennessee. Nevertheless, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not report this kind of fatal injury in its national traffic fatality numbers. This is because driveway back-over deaths are not categorized as in-traffic accidents.

NHTSA death statistics are important because they highlight the dangers of distracted driving, drunk driving and reckless driving in real quantifiable data. When drivers see these figures, they are reminded of how important safe driving practices are in order to avoid causing car accidents. Considering that at least 50 child back-over accidents happen every week in the United States, it is important that drivers consider data on non-traffic accidents as well, especially because two out of those 50 are fatal accidents each week.

The NHTSA reports that from 2011 dating back to 2008, 6,483 non-traffic-related auto crash deaths occurred. These deaths may have occurred in single-car incidents on private property, two-car collisions in parking areas or pedestrian accidents on driveways. The worst part, however, is the fact that 13 percent of these fatal accident victims were children below the age of five. Also, 50 percent of these child deaths occurred in driveways after a distracted driver hit them.

Tennessee drivers must take more care with their cell phones and other distractions in order to pay attention to what is both in front of them and behind them. Children are more difficult to see, and young children are less aware of the need to get out of the way of a motor vehicle that is coming toward them. Parents of children who suffered an injury because a distracted driver backed over them may wish to pursue a civil court action against the driver responsible. While no amount of money can correct this kind of wrong, restitution obtained from a successfully navigated personal injury case can help parents gain financial assistance to pay for the many expenses that arise from such a tragedy.

Source: usa.streetsblog.org, "The Death Toll From Cars Is Even Higher Than You Thought", Tanya Snyder, April 21, 2014

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