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Safety campaigner slams ‘Safekids’ over driveway accidents

Safety campaigner slams ‘Safekids’ over driveway accidents.

The policies of the Safekids organisation have failed to reduce the high number of deaths on New Zealand driveways, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.
Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an active road safety campaigner, says:
“Safekids is mainly trying to stop driveway deaths by telling people to drive safely. 30 years of international studies have shown that telling people to drive safely simply doesn’t work.”
“The facts speak for themselves. New Zealand’s toll of driveway deaths is the worst in the developed world, yet Safekids still promotes the same failed policies.”

An average of five children a year die on driveways in New Zealand and a child is seriously injured about every two weeks.

Matthew-Wilson is a strong advocate of reversing cameras, which allow the driver to see what is behind a reversing vehicle. According to credible studies, reversing cameras are the most effective way of eliminating the blindspots that often lead to driveway tragedy.

“A small child may be invisible to the driver of a reversing vehicle, even if the driver looks in all three mirrors. The safest solution is a reversing camera, which shows the driver what’s behind his vehicle.”
Safekids does promote reversing cameras, but only as a minor addition to its main policies of changing driver behaviour and changing driveway design.
Matthew-Wilson is frustrated by the attitude of Safekids.

“Every time I promote reversing cameras, Safekids gives a lukewarm response, saying things such as: reversing cameras are not foolproof.”

“No one claims reversing cameras are foolproof. They’re simply the best, most cost effective way of preventing reversing accidents. You can fit one to your car today and be safer tomorrow,”
In addition to trying to educate drivers, Safekids blames poor driveway design for many accidents.
Matthew-Wilson says that trying to prevent driveway accidents by changing the nation's driveways is like trying to drain a swamp by hiring 1000 people with buckets.
“It’s slow, expensive and you won’t get results for a very long time.”
“Due to campaigning by groups like Safekids, the government is currently investing $30 million on childproofing state house driveways. For $30 million you could fit reversing cameras to more than 150,000 cars in poor areas.”
“Not only is the government’s policy very expensive, it will be limited in its effects and will take years to make any difference.”
“A reversing camera provides far better protection than a driveway fence. Remember also, a reversing camera protects children wherever the vehicle is driven, not just in the driveway at home.”

Matthew-Wilson explains how his own reversing camera and parking sensors may have saved a child's life:

“I was reversing out of a parking bay at a supermarket. Like all good drivers I checked my three rear mirrors. Just as I began to reverse, a sudden beep warned me that a small child was running straight past the rear of my car. He appeared from nowhere, running across the reversing camera screen, then disappeared past the vehicle. He was too short to show up in my rear view mirror. If I had not had a reversing camera and parking sensors fitted, I could easily have reversed straight over this child.”


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