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  2. Road Traffic Accidents Increase Dramatically Worldwide – Population Reference Bureau
  3. Road Traffic Accidents Increase Dramatically Worldwide

Jeremy Westfall was cutting the grass last month at his home in Mineralwells, West Virginia, when he decided to put his Massey Ferguson lawn tractor in reverse. FairWarning has identified cases of young children being injured by backovers of riding mowers since , based on court records, news reports and interviews. Eight of the children died, and others suffered amputations of fingers, toes, hands, feet and limbs, as well as mangled internal organs. FairWarning's list of injuries is almost certainly an undercount.

A study published in in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine estimated there were 1, backover injuries in the United States from to — roughly 65 per year.

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Seventy percent of the victims were under the age of 5. Although human error is an obvious factor, another is a conscious choice by some mower manufacturers to design their machines so they can mow in reverse, despite mounting evidence that this jeopardizes small children, an investigation by FairWarning has found. In , in response to the rising toll of these accidents, the mower industry adopted a voluntary standard for riding mowers. It requires the blades to stop spinning when the mower moves in reverse, but permits manufacturers to include buttons or switches to override this safety feature.

Many manufacturers have done so, and the accidents have continued.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission implemented a mandatory safety standard for walk-behind power mowers in the early s, but excluded riding mowers from the rule. But there are no immediate plans to do so. When it is absolutely necessary to operate the mower in reverse, always look behind you, as well as on the ground before and while backing up.

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FairWarning reached out to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute , a trade group, and several manufacturers, including Husqvarna, Ariens and Ryobi, but none agreed to interviews. Massey Ferguson did not respond to a request for comment on the Mineralwells accident.


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In almost every case, the operator of the mower is a parent or close family member, compounding the trauma of the accident. Since the August accident, Tate has endured more than 30 surgeries to repair severe injuries to his legs and internal organs. Isabelle Norton was 2 when her leg was amputated in a backover accident at her home in Springfield, Oregon, in As her father, Kirk Norton, was backing up the mower, he saw his nephew waving frantically. By the time he realized what had happened, it was too late, court records show.

The jury put the rest of the blame on her father, who is serving a year sentence in state prison after being convicted in of sexual abuse and sodomy in an unrelated case. Kirk Norton has also appealed. It was ''well engineered, well designed, and well built,'' and Isabelle's father was to blame for her injuries, a Deere lawyer said in court.

Corson cited internal memos from Deere that showed how the company experimented with backover safety systems in the s and the early s. The company introduced the ''no mow in reverse'' design, which allowed users the option of overriding the safety feature, in the late s. That design became the industry standard several years later.

Road Traffic Accidents Increase Dramatically Worldwide – Population Reference Bureau

Nathan Hemming, a product safety engineer at Deere, acknowledged in testimony at the trial that the company never evaluated whether the system reduced accidents. Isabelle, now 15, has been left with chronic health problems in addition to the loss of her left leg, according to court records. But these crashes most likely will be costly. More than 2 million people are injured in crashes every year.

Which brings us to why this little-known number is so critical.


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We got the accident-everyyears statistic from the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America , a trade association that analyzes insurance data. They do so by getting you to pay for your accidents -- in advance. How to price your insurance rates low enough to lure you from a competitor, but high enough to make a profit on your future accidents, involves elaborate risk assessments that constitute the secret sauce of the insurance business. Computer data can now create thousands of driver-profile combinations.

But all can be boiled down to the need to determine two things:. How often you're considered due for that next accident depends a little, too, on your insurer. A company that insures large numbers of young drivers — who are far more likely to have accidents -- will likely budget for a shorter gap between crashes. State Farm, the country's largest auto insurance company, has customers with slightly lower-than-average accident rates.

Investigating Accidents

But there are some ways you can move the needle, ways that will both change your lifetime-accident rate and lower your insurance premium. No single factor is more likely to cause an accident than a driver impaired by alcohol or other drugs. One-third of fatal accidents in this country are attributed to drunken drivers alone.

Road Traffic Accidents Increase Dramatically Worldwide

The deadliest three-hour periods on American roadways are between midnight and 3 a. Keep your eyes on the road. NHTSA data show that of the 30, fatal crashes in involved drivers using cell phones. Department of Transportation. Nearly one-third of all fatal accidents are attributed to speeding or driving too fast for conditions.