Cars injure 841,000 people a year – without crashing

A new Not-in-Traffic Surveillance study sheds light on the numbers and types of injuries that occur as a result of non-crash related accidents, statistics that hadn’t previously been tracked. Annually, auto-related non-traffic accidents are estimated to cause 1,747 deaths and and 841,000 injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which conducted the study.
Here are some of the study findings, as reported by the Consumer Reports Car Blog:

  • More than half of the non-crash fatalities in the study occurred when a vehicle fell on a person who was under it or from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning
  • About 20 percent of the non-crash injuries involved slamming fingers or other extremities in a car door or trunk, or resulted from overexertion when loading or unloading a vehicle or pushing a disabled vehicle
  • Across all types of tragedies, about one-third of those injured and about half of those killed were not inside the vehicle at the time
  • Other common hazards included vehicle fires, anti-freeze and battery-acid burns, and falling from a vehicle
  • A significant 221 deaths, and 14,000 injuries resulted from pedestrians being backed over by a vehicle

Backovers killed nearly 100 children and injured 2000 in 2007
About twice a week, kids are killed by being run over by a vehicle that is being backed up. Tragically enough, this often occurs in the home driveway with a parent or a relative at the wheel of the car. In 2007, nearly 100 children were killed and 2,000 injured when they were backed over by cars. In fact, one of the primary reasons for the new mandate to track non-traffic related injuries and deaths stems from a 2008 law requiring the tracking of data for incidents in which children are backed over, strangled by power windows or killed from being left in hot vehicles
A child safety advocacy organization called Kids and Cars says such accidents are predictable and preventable. The following video highlights the issue and shows Consumer Report studies on blind zones, which vary by vehicle, ranging from about 12 feet for a sedan to as much as 30 feet for a pickup-truck.

For additional information on back-up blind zones, see The danger of blind zones by Consumer Reports.