Innovation for reducing backing crashes

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Innovation for reducing backing crashes

  1. 1. Reducing “Backing Crashes” by ! Increasing the Visibility of Vehicles in Reverse Gear: ! Synchronized Reverse Gear and Hazard Lights in Motorized Vehicles Phil Reding pjreding@gmail.com (301) 956-9533 January 29, 2014
  2. 2. Synchronized Reverse Gear and Hazard Lights in Motorized Vehicles ! Concept! ! Vehicle hazard lights (aka emergency flashers) are infrequently used and require driver activation, yet when activated significantly increase the visibility of a vehicle to nearby pedestrians and other vehicles thereby increasing safety for all. Currently, when a motor vehicle is put in reverse gear the reverse lights (aka backup lights) are auto-activated. But what if these under-used hazard lights were auto-activated along with the reverse lights whenever the vehicle is put in reverse gear? ! ! “Backing Crashes”! ! According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “a ‘backover’ is a crash which occurs when a driver reverses into and injures or kills a non-occupant such as a pedestrian or a bicyclist. Backovers can occur either on a public roadway or not on a public roadway, i.e., in a driveway or in a parking lot. The former are called traffic backovers and the latter nontraffic backovers. There are also “other backing crashes” that are not backovers, i.e., they do not involve a pedestrian or other nonoccupant, that occur when, for example, a driver backs into a tree or pole or when a driver backs out of a driveway or parking space and is struck by another vehicle. Together, backover crashes and other backing crashes are referred to as backing crashes.”(1)! ! The Need for Innovation! ! While the reverse lights that are activated when the driver puts the vehicle in reverse gear increase the visibility of a vehicle in the evening, they are not adequately visible in daylight.! ! Additionally, reverse lights on many vehicles are only visible to those who are positioned at the rear of the vehicle given that these lights are located on either side of the license plate or at the rear two corners of cars and trucks. They are typically not visible to pedestrians and moving vehicles that are at a 90º angle to the vehicle.! ! Safety devices such as back-up cameras and rearview mirrors offer a limited sight range and require driver engagement. These devices do not alert those nearby that the vehicle is in reverse gear. Back-up beepers exist as an aftermarket addon but appear to be of little interest to those other than owners of large commercial trucks.! ! ! ! (1) U.S. DOT, Fatalities and Injuries in Motor Vehicle Backing Crashes, 11/08 (DOT HS 811 144)!
  3. 3. Synchronized Reverse Gear and Hazard Lights in Motorized Vehicles !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! Supporting Statistics! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! • U.S. Department of Transportation study (2):! Based on available data, annually in the U.S. there are 48,000 injuries and nearly 500 fatalities as a result of backing crashes. ! Accidents involving passenger vehicles account for 90% of injuries and 78% of total fatalities resulting from these types of accidents.! ! ! ! ! • 2012 AAA Mid-Atlantic study (3):! In 2012, Montgomery County, MD experienced a 34% increase in vehicle-pedestrian collisions in parking lots and parking garages. According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, Montgomery County is one of the few areas in the country to track this trend.! As of mid-2013, 30% of pedestrian accidents in Montgomery County, MD happened in parking lots. That's well up from 2008, when that number was 22 percent. ! AAA Mid-Atlantic cited research that shows 25 percent of all parking lot accidents nationwide are caused by vehicles backing up.! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (1) The NHTSA’s Special Crash Investigations (SCI) investigations indicated that more non-occupants were approaching the backing vehicles from the side rather! than being stationary behind the vehicles.! (2) U.S. DOT, Fatalities and Injuries in Motor Vehicle Backing Crashes, 11/08 (DOT HS 811 144)! (3) http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/08/aaa-study-pedestrian-parking-lot-accidents-on-the-rise-92318.html!
  4. 4. Synchronized Reverse Gear and Hazard Lights in Motorized Vehicles The Key Benefit: Increased vehicle visibility when backing up should lead to a reduction in backing crashes and the attendant injuries and fatalities that result from these accidents.! ! Many of today’s cars and trucks have hazard lights that are positioned not only in the back and front of the vehicle but also in the front fenders and/or side-view mirrors. Activating all hazard lights when the vehicle is placed in reverse would greatly increase the visibility of the vehicle from all directions without the need for driver engagement, acting as an alert system for those in the vehicle’s path whether that be a pedestrian, a cyclist or another vehicle. Hybrid and electric vehicles whose motors run virtually silent at slow speeds have a particular need for this innovation. ! ! This innovation would be low-cost to implement, only requiring a modification to existing equipment.! ! Who are the Beneficiaries of this Innovation?! ! • Everyone! • • Pedestrians/Cyclists: Creates a safer environment, particularly in parking lots.! Drivers: Increases their overall safety, reduces personal liability, and should lead to lower insurance premiums for all.! Auto Insurance Companies: Leads to fewer accidents involving vehicles backing-up which in turn lowers liability claims.! Auto Manufacturers: In their never-ending quest to introduce vehicle enhancements year after year, this would be a very inexpensive safety improvement.! ! ! Recommendation: Auto manufacturers should test the efficacy of this simple innovation (please see graphics on next two slides) and, depending on the findings, consider making this modification to all new vehicles.
  5. 5. Without Proposed Innovation Reverse Only reverse lights are activated when vehicle is put in reverse gear
  6. 6. With Proposed Innovation Reverse Hazard lights and reverse lights are activated when vehicle is put in reverse gear

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