Visibility of children behind 2010-2013 model year passenger vehicles using glances, mirrors, and backup cameras and parking sensors

Kidd, David G. / Brethwaite, Andrew S.
Accident Analysis & Prevention (AAP)
May 2014

This study identified the areas behind vehicles where younger and older children are not visible and measured the extent to which vehicle technologies improve visibility. Rear visibility of targets simulating the heights of a 12-15-month-old, a 30-36-month-old, and a 60-72-month-old child was assessed in 21 2010-2013 model year passenger vehicles with a backup camera or a backup camera plus parking sensor system. The average blind zone for a 12-15-month-old was twice as large as it was for a 60-72-month-old. Large SUVs had the worst rear visibility and small cars had the best. Increases in rear visibility provided by backup cameras were larger than the non-visible areas detected by parking sensors, but parking sensors detected objects in areas near the rear of the vehicle that were not visible in the camera or other fields of view. Overall, backup cameras and backup cameras plus parking sensors reduced the blind zone by around 90 percent on average and have the potential to prevent backover crashes if drivers use the technology appropriately.

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