Shriners demonstrate dangers of blind spots - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Shriners demonstrate dangers of blind spots

By Oscar Valenzuela - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Most of us do it every day without a second thought – we step out of our homes, get into our cars and pull out of our driveways.

On average in Hawaii two people are killed annually from this seemingly innocent act.

With handful of toys, street cones and two SUVs, the folks at the Honolulu Shriners Hospital for Children provided a revealing demonstration Monday.

"It is really surprising because you'd think, ‘Oh yeah, I could see all of that,'" said a participant. "Once you're in here you really can't. It's really very limited."

The area behind the SUV is littered with toys and cones. But once inside, a driver's ability to see the items becomes severely restricted.

"The blind spot on this vehicle extends back almost 30 feet," said Mike Meyer, the Child Passenger Safety instructor for Shriners.

That's 30 feet of unseen space, where small children can easily disappear from view.

In 2007, two small children were run over by an SUV backing out of a driveway. Two-year-old Teysia Aku was killed.

In October of 2006, Pa'ahana Kincaid was playing with her 13-month-old son in her front yard.

"I ran into the house for just a second, and it was just a second too long," said Kincaid.

In that brief moment her husband got into the family car and backed over their son.

"Before we could even come out of the house we could hear wailing and screaming," said Kincaid. "He didn't see him at all."

It's a deadly mistake which, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, occurs nearly 300 times a year across America.

"Vehicles have blind spots, even using all three of your mirrors," said Meyer.

Drivers do well by checking the side mirrors, rearview mirror and even turning to look out of the rear window. But that doesn't always guarantee that you're seeing the whole picture.

Mike Meyer, the Child Passenger Safety instructor for Shriners, emphasizes that just isn't enough.

"You should walk around your vehicle – the entire path – before you get in your car," said Meyer. "You beep your horn as you're backing up. You should have your windows rolled all the way down and back up slowly. And probably most important is you need to be prepared to stop."

Kincaid shares her story with people and shows exceptional courage when asked if it gets too hard reliving the memory.

"Yes and no," said Kincaid. "It's difficult that I have to share it over and over again, but through my sharing it might help others to be aware of safety, and might save other lives."

Other safety measures were also introduced, including rear view cameras and sensors. But experts warn, these devices shouldn't become substitutes for hands-on awareness.

"Having technology isn't the answer," said Meyer. "Parents really need to know where their children are at all times."

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has proposed new regulations that will mandate back up cameras in new vehicles by 2014.

 

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