Tragedy can’t be reversed
Cameras, sensors are no substitute for vigilance, writes Mark Hinchliffe
CHILDREN are still at risk of being run over by reversing vehicles despite new technology that helps drivers detect them, according to Kidsafe Australia.
NRMA Insurance has just released its annual Insurance Reversing Visibility Index that shows new cars are still not safe when children are playing nearby.
The survey shows 8 per cent of the 218 cars tested had a maximum fivestar visibility rating, up from 5 per cent last year, as vehicle reversing cameras become more popular and substantially reduce the blind spot behind a vehicle.
However, Kidsafe Queensland chief executive officer Susan Teerds says cameras and parking sensors are not foolproof.
‘‘I’m not a fan of parking sensors,’’ she says. ‘‘People tend to ignore them.
‘‘We tell people not to rely on sensors or reversing cameras. Nothing substitutes for vigilance.’’
She says that on average two children a week are being run over in Queensland because parents don’t supervise their children, separate them from traffic with a secure fence and check behind their vehicle when reversing.
‘‘These must be used in combination to be effective,’’ she says. ‘‘In the past 10 years, 1000 children have been admitted to Queensland hospitals in low-speed, run-over accidents.’’
Most incidents occur at school car parks, shopping centres and at home, with parents often the driver.
NRMA Insurance spokesman Robert McDonald says manufacturers are adding reversing cameras in more new vehicles, while all Australian-built large family vehicles now include them as a standard or an optional feature.
This year the Holden Commodore sedan joins the Ford Falcon and Toyota Aurion/Camry with the reverse sensor cameras.
However, Commodore and Falcon still rate zero stars in the visibility survey because vehicles with the cameras fitted were not available at the time of testing.
‘‘Though we’ve seen an increase in the take-up of reversing cameras, 13 per cent of cars tested still scored a zero rating,’’ McDonald says.
Teerds says it is a myth that fourwheel-drive vehicles are the biggest culprits.
‘‘They might be more lethal because they are bigger and heavier but they are not doing the majority of the run-overs.’’
The NRMA Insurance figures show several sedans, hatches and small cars with zero ratings, while several large SUVs rated maximum stars.
The NRMA Insurance Reversing Visibility Index measures the visible area and distance across the rear of the vehicle and takes into account whether cameras and sensors have been installed.
Out of sight: Susan Teerds looks at the safety of reversing cameras.