Eyes in the back of your head?
On average, seven children are killed and 60 are seriously injured each year across Australia after being hit or run over by a motor vehicle at home, according to a 2012 study by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.
In response to these tragic 'driveway deaths', NRMA Insurance has developed a Reversing Visibility Index that measures the 'blind spot area' behind a car where the driver can't see a small child.
How rear visibility is tested
The index takes into account the visible area and distance across the rear of a vehicle and whether a camera and sensors have been installed. Cars are rated on a scale of zero to five stars, with a rating of five indicating better reversing visibility.
The test procedure involves:
- a laser pointing device,
- a test cylinder to represent the shoulder height of an average two-year-old child, and
- a grid that extends 1.8m x 15m from the rear of the vehicle.
The laser is directed through the rear window of each vehicle. The position where the laser is visible on the test cylinder is noted. This process is repeated for all positions on the grid.
The results are then analysed and an overall rating given. The best ratings are awarded to the vehicles that have the most effective rear visibility.
If you're considering buying a new car, or would like to check how your current car rates, you can look up a car's reversing safety on the NRMA website.
While technologies such as reversing cameras and sensors have vastly improved safety in this area, it's important that you don't rely on these. You should also:
- check the rear-view mirror and look over your shoulder before reversing
- supervise children who are near a reversing vehicle
- refer to this Driveway Safety publication for further information.
Car reversing cameras
A reversing camera can make parking and tricky manoeuvres a lot easier – and a lot safer. They cost from around $150 to $500. See our Car reversing camera buying guide for more information.