The Special Crash Investigations unit of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has, since October 2006, been collecting detailed data on back-over and non-crash events to support the agency’s efforts to mitigate these kinds of incidents.
The types of cases investigated include: Back-over; backing-up light passenger vehicle strikes a person from the rear or approaching from the side; certified advanced-air-bag cases; school bus crashworthiness investigations; rollaway; vehicle slips out of gear and injures a non-occupant; carbon monoxide poisoning; vehicles with adaptive vehicle controls; not-in-transport cases; and other vehicle safety issues as requested by the agency. The focus is on children in situations such as the following:
Power-window entrapment – Child strangled in a power window closing;
Hyper/Hypothermia – Leaving children in cold/hot vehicles;
Trunk entrapment – Children getting locked in vehicle trunks.
Of the 64 cases, 50 involved a backover, 7 hyperthermia; 3 power window entrapment; 2 trunk entrapment; and 2 rollaway. Breaking-down the vehicles involved, 17 involved passenger cars, 23 were sport utility vehicles or vans, and 10 pickup trucks. Breaking down the severity of the backover cases, 27 involved a fatal outcome, and 25 involved a non-fatal 25 (moderate to severe) injuries.
Regarding the back-over victim’s path, 14 people were approaching from the right or left of vehicle, 11 were stationary (or close to stationary) behind the vehicle such as playing behind the vehicle, and the path of 17 victims is unknown. The investigations unit is awaiting data from 10 others situations, such as riding in hatch, or running up to vehicle from behind and falling.
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