So popular ... and fatal
The Daily TelegraphFriday 26 July 2002
|By ANNA COCK
THE Turramurra Tractor is more popular than ever before -- and the consequences are fatal.
The death of yet another child in Sydney this week has reignited debate about the safety of 4WD vehicles, which continue to boom in popularity.
Figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph yesterday show 69,306 4WDs were sold in Australia in the first six months of this year -- equivalent to total 4WD sales for the whole of 1997.
While the school community at Pittwater House, Collaroy mourns the death of pre-schooler Bethany Holder, one safety campaigner yesterday questioned whether the 4WD that crushed the youngster should have been allowed on school grounds in the first place.
“What the hell was that 4WD doing in a schoolyard ... why not get a bulldozer in?” said Pedestrian Council chairman Harold Scruby.
Bethany, 5, died on Wednesday morning when she was struck by a Nissan Patrol in the driveway of the school.
Police have said the driver, a 28-year-old Ingleside woman, simply did not see the little girl, who was on foot with her 11-year-old sister and father.
Mr Scruby said 4WDs had “no place” around schools -- and although figures indicated the vehicles were here to stay, there were measures which could be put in place to minimise the risk posed by their size and design. “They have to be made safer, at least bringing the vehicles up to parity with much safer passenger vehicles,” Mr Scruby said.
Suggestions to manage the risks included:
According to child injury prevention group KidSafe, the design of most cars meant small children outside a vehicle were not visible to drivers.
“They're not designed for us to look out for little people running around,” Kidsafe program manager Jennifer Duncombe said yesterday. She added the most important preventative measure remained driver awareness.
Editorial: Page 22
Death and 4WDs
Source: Australian Transport Safety Bureau, NRMA