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Spotting a Problem: Air Force Safety focuses on vehicle backing

The driver's view of the image from a backup camera when there's an object or person behind the vehicle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Keith Wright)

The driver's view of the image from a backup camera when there's an object or person behind the vehicle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Keith Wright)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- This week, Aug. 10 through 14, the Air Force Safety Center, in conjunction with the Quest for Zero campaign, is focusing on vehicle backing.  The intent of this effort is awareness -- to remind our Air Force family: active duty, Reserve, Guard, civilians, and family members of the hazards of vehicles backing up.  The focus covers both on-duty and off-duty hazards of both back overs and front overs.

The statistics of vehicle backing mishaps is sobering.  According to an Air Force study of on-duty motor vehicle mishaps from 2010 to2014, there were 87 on-duty vehicle backing mishaps, two of which were fatalities.  The leading cause of 30 of the 87 mishaps (34 percent) was lack of a spotter or improper spotting.   

Preventing these on-duty mishaps is a team effort.  Commanders, unit safety representatives, and supervisors are asked to talk to their people about the importance of proper vehicle backing.  Take this week to ensure everyone is aware of the dangers of vehicle backing and train personnel on proper back-up and spotting procedures. 
   
The Vehicle Backing Focus isn't limited to on-duty activities.  In the U.S., 50 children are backed over WEEKLY because a driver could not see them.  In an effort to reduce these numbers, all vehicles will be required to have a back-up camera by 2018.  However, we should not wait or rely on technology to ensure we are being safe when backing up. 

Whether on-duty or off-duty, below are some tips on vehicle backing safety:

- Walk around and behind a vehicle before moving it
- Get to know your vehicle's blind spots
- Think in advance
- Be aware that steep inclines and large SUV's, vans, and trucks add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle
- Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway
- Keep vehicles locked at tall times: even in the garage or driveway
- Teach children never to play around parked vehicles
- Use a spotter

Backing-up a vehicle is something most people do every day but aren't always focused on the dangers surrounding this simple task.  Whether at work or at home, take this week to focus on vehicle backing safety.  For more information you can contact the local safety office at DSN 743-3683 or Commercial (316) 759-3683.