Every year hundreds of children and adults are injured and some are killed as a result of vehicles backing over these victims. Most back up accidents involve children under the age of 5 and elderly persons over 60 years of age. These backing up deaths occur in SUVs, passenger cars, trucks and commercial trucks as well.

In 2003 there were 91 deaths associated with people backing over people (although only 44 were from cars, SUV’s or pickup trucks). We’ve spent millions of dollars developing back-up alarms and back-up cameras – some cars even come equipped with them.

But, in that same year, 143 people died as a result of a rear end accident to a passenger car or truck. So why don’t we make stronger rear bumpers or relocate the gas tank to protect the 143 people that die from fires resulting from a rear end accident?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of backup cameras and backup alarms. But I want you to take a close look at these statistics to see if we need stronger bumpers or tank relocation before we get backup alarms or backup cameras.

Fires occur in approximately 2.4 percent of all fatal crashes. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates approximately 310 deaths per year are caused by post-collision vehicle fires. The largest cause of these fire-related fatalities, are rear impacts.

Although fires are rare, they are not as rare as accidentally backing over someone. If you just take the statistics from 2003, and you consider only passenger cars, SUV’s or light trucks, you are over 3 times more likely to burn to death in a rear-end collision than you are to kill someone by backing over them!

When you consider just pickup trucks, you are over 2 times more likely to burn to death in a rear end collision than you are to back over someone driving a pickup truck. And it’s a gruesome death. Usually the frame of the vehicle gets crushed to the point where the doors jam shut. And, because it’s almost impossible to punch your way through the safety glass, you end up trapped.

77% Of Fuel System Ruptures Were The Result Of Rear End Collision Damage. Why? Because The Fuel Tank On Most Vehicles Is In The Rear! And, rear-end impacts are three times as likely to result in fatal fire crashes. Although today’s gas tanks have protective bladders, the tank sometimes ends up separating from the filler hose and the gas starts leaking.

There are only two ways the problem can be fixed? Relocating the gas tank and/or shielding it from rupture or puncture. These are the two single and most practical solutions to fuel fed fires.

The rear end collision is the most frequent accident on the highway today. Shouldn’t we consider stronger bumpers, a better shield and/or tank relocation before backup alarms and cameras?

Jeff is CEO of Mohr Mfg – http://www.superbumper.com The company makes portable, energy absorbing, spare safety bumpers that protect your vehicle from rear-end collision damage, reduce whiplash injuries, shield your gas tank from under-ride and eliminate parking lot and parallel parking dents and dings.