The tragic death of an 8-year-old struck and killed by a vehicle in New Hartford earlier this month shocked the local community, but similar stories are all too common across the nation due to poor vehicle visibility and other concerns, according to the founder of a national nonprofit that seeks to improve child car safety.
Janette Fennell, founder and president of the safety advocacy group KidsAndCars.org, estimates that at least 50 children are backed over by vehicles every week because drivers could not see them.
“The first thing people need to understand is that it’s impossible to see what’s behind your vehicle if it’s in the blind zone,” Fennell said. “We’ve worked really a lot on this issue. If you just look at children 14 years old and younger, we know that about 50 children are backed over by a vehicle every week in the United States. About 48 end up in hospital emergency rooms and about two die. At the same time, we want to let you know that’s happening to very young children as well.”
On Sunday, May 15, 8-year-old Logan Lints of Rome was killed in the Target parking lot at Sangertown Square when a truck operated by 19-year-old Saul Rivera of Utica hit the child while backing out of a parking space.
According to information compiled by KidsAndCars.org, the average blind zone can be anywhere between 15 and 25 feet wide, with shorter drivers having larger blind zones. About 60 percent of back-overs involve a larger vehicle.
The organization recommends that drivers always walk around and behind their vehicle prior to moving it; install a rear-view camera, backup sensors or additional mirrors on vehicles; and roll down the driver’s side window when backing so they can hear if someone is warning them to stop.
New Hartford police Chief Michael Inserra said driving or walking through parking lots could be dangerous for all parties, regardless of age. He recommended that both drivers and…