Drive down any suburban Australian road on a summer day and you will see countless children playing and on the driveway of their home. However, this is one place that can cause danger without warning and an area the NSW government is targeting in its latest safety campaign.
Announced recently, the state government is working alongside the Georgina Josephine Foundation to spread the word on driveway safety and how to curb the increasing accident rate.
The base of the campaign revolves around a video that highlights basic measures such as driveway access, visibility and ensuring garages are fitted with child locks. The video is available from the foundation's workshops and website as well as on the Centre for Road Safety webpage.
The Georgina Josephine Foundation is in honour of the 15-month old toddler who was accidently killed in a driveway incident in April 2011. Her parents, Peter and Emma Cockburn, established the foundation to spark awareness among parents and motorists.
Emma Cockburn explained that this is an issue that affects all demographics and age groups. She also wants to stop future tragedies for other families.
"This campaign encourages us all to take care when getting into cars, to be aware of who and what is around us before driving away, and to remember that active parental supervision is key," she said.
Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay said driveway accident numbers have been increasing steadily over the past few years. On average, more than five children are killed and 47 seriously injured in driveways across the country every year. In fact, since January 2013, six children were fatally injured in NSW incidents.
Mr Gay stated these accidents can be avoided if simple measures are undertaken by all parties.
"These tragic accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and are absolutely life shattering, that's why the NSW Government has launched its new "hands on" campaign to help reduce driveway danger," he said.
"The campaign provides sensible safety advice to parents, carers, drivers and residents, including tips on how to design homes and yards to improve child safety."
Can reversing cameras help?
Technologies such as Auto Emergency Braking (AEB) and reversing cameras help drivers make better decisions and prevent needless accidents in areas such as driveways.
Many individuals argue that reversing cameras create poorer drivers, as motorists won't check rear vision and side mirrors as often. However, over the past few years vehicle design has changed and there are many more blind spots and obstructed views to contend with.
This means motorists should be embracing the technology and using it to ensure the safety of children in driveways.
The NSW government is currently funding a major international study into reversing technologies, which should be completed by the beginning of 2015.
Mr Gay explained that the study is analysing how effective they are and the information gathered will be vital in the decision to mandate the cameras in vehicles moving forward.
"There is significant community concern about reversing crashes, whether they involve small children in driveways, senior citizens in carparks or cyclists in roadside situations and this study will help us to better understand whether reversing technologies are an effective solution," he said.
The campaign comes at the perfect time for parents and motorists. With the warmer weather almost upon us, there will be more and more children playing on driveways across the country. By taking time to check the surroundings, drivers can ensure the safety of any children quietly out of view.