LINDENHURST, N.Y. – Just months after a law was enacted to warn about the dangers of so called "backover" accidents, another tragedy has occurred: a 5-year-old killed by his family's minivan.
The latest victim, Jacob Quinn, succumbed Sunday night to what child safety advocates call a growing trend of children being killed and maimed by large vehicles — often their family's own SUVs and minivans — in driveways and parking spaces.
Christine Schilling told police that after she moved her 1995 Chrysler minivan at about 8:30 p.m., she discovered Jacob lying beneath its tire. The exact circumstances of the accident were not immediately known.
The minivan was impounded for a safety check, but no charges were filed, Suffolk County Police said Monday.
Earlier this year, the Suffolk County Legislature voted to implement "Alec's Law," believed to be first-in-the-nation legislation that requires auto dealers to distribute safety tips to buyers, warning them about the hazards of "backovers." Similar legislation has also been enacted in neighboring Nassau County and is being considered elsewhere, said Janette Fennell, founder of the Kansas-based Kids And Cars.org safety advocacy group.
The parents of several Long Island children killed in "backover" accidents are also lobbying for legislation in Congress that would set minivan visibility standards, Fennell added.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates there are at least 183 "backover" fatalities annually; children 15 and younger accounted for 145 of those fatalities. The second-largest group were people older than 70.