Each year in Hawaii, approximately 13 children are accidentally run-over by their parents or relatives and taken to hospitals, resulting in four to five deaths. So far this year, two 3-year old boys on the Big Island died from injuries after being accidentally run-over by a family member. In the majority of cases, the vehicle involved was a mini-van, truck, or SUV being backed out of a driveway.  

Farmers Insurance Hawaii partnered with The Queen’s Medical Center and Pflueger Honda and held a back-over prevention demonstration at Seagull Early Education Center preschool as part of National Trauma Awareness Month. The demonstration helped raise awareness to prevent the likelihood of back-over injuries and deaths. The demonstration also revealed the visibility impairments of a vehicle’s blind zones without the aid of back-up cameras.

“Most children in these back-over cases are under five years old and some are only 12-23 months old,” said Melanie Joseph, marketing manager at Farmers Insurance Hawaii. “They’re physically able to walk and play, but do not understand the dangers of moving vehicles. That’s why Farmers Hawaii is raising awareness about the visibility limitations of vehicles’ mirrors, and the enhanced visibility of a back-up camera, which is extremely important to help save lives.”

The demonstration led by Cora Speck, coordinator for injury prevention and research with The Queen’s Medical Center, showed a driver in a parked mini-van with 30 preschoolers lined-up behind the vehicle. The driver looked in the vehicle’s rear-view and side mirrors and could not see the students behind the vehicle.  Once the installed rear-view camera was turned on, the driver immediately saw all 22 keiki behind the vehicle.

“Cameras significantly increase the visibility for vehicles and help prevent these tragedies, especially in larger vehicles which have substantial blind zones,” said Joseph “In addition, video camera systems also include sensors or provide audible warnings to alert drivers.  “It’s shocking to see the dramatic difference in visibility with and without a back-up camera,” said Joseph.  

Two years ago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed requiring rear-mounted video cameras with in-vehicle displays in new vehicles.  Even though this requirement has stalled in legislation, many automobile manufacturers have voluntarily installed back-up cameras as a standard in about 45% of newer vehicles.  The vehicle used in the demonstration was a Honda mini-van provided by Pflueger Honda that comes standard with a back-up camera.  

George Benevente, of Pflueger Honda, was also on hand and explained how to retrofit a vehicle that does not come standard with back-up cameras and discussed the costs of cameras and installation. 
      
For more information about how to help keep keiki safe around cars, visit myfarmershawaii.com/backuptips

The vehicle back-over prevention demonstration was part of Farmers Hawaii’s Hot Spots traffic safety program. The Hot Spots program was created in 2002 andencourages safe driving practices and promotes community awareness of traffic and vehicle safety issues. For more information about the Hot Spots traffic safety program, please contact Farmers Insurance Hawaii at 544-3988.

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