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Plan for auto-closing gates to halt driveway injuries

This controlled scene was set up to show the risks  of cars reversing from driveways.
This controlled scene was set up to show the risks of cars reversing from driveways. Contributed

SELF-closing gates similar to pool fencing to block children from suburban driveways could be introduced across the country under a revised plan for driveway safety guidelines.

The Federal Government proposal comes after a 14-month-old toddler was seriously injured when hit by a reversing vehicle in the driveway of a Nambour family home on Wednesday.

The little boy was taken to Nambour General Hospital, but RACQ Rescue Helicopter later transferred the tot to Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital for specialist care.

The toddler's condition improved throughout yesterday and late yesterday he was in a critical but stable condition.

A Federal Government feedback report released this month reveals the thoughts of stakeholders including architects, building professionals, child safety groups and design groups on the potential solutions.

The Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety estimates low-speed runovers to be the third most frequent cause of injury or death in Queensland children aged between one and three.

Kidsafe Queensland says four Queensland children are killed each year - many in their own driveway.

The Department of Infrastructure and Transport said the proposed "framework of design principles and measures" could form the basis of a best-practice design guide.

The department is looking at reducing the length of driveways to avoid collision, limiting speed and the number of vehicles using shared driveways, house design and self-closing fencing that leads to driveways or garages.

But it says the guidelines will be voluntary to "help homeowners, builders and designers to make choices that reduce the risks to children".

Kidsafe CEO Susan Teerds offered her sympathy to the Nambour parents and reminded all families of the vital need for vigilance in driveway safety.

"You need to treat driveways like they are the road. They aren't a play area," Ms Teerds said.

"Reversing cameras are going to help but children are fast so you need to walk around the car and look for your children or the neighbours' children."

RACQ DRIVEWAY SAFETY TIPS:

  • Avoid leaving children to play alone
  • Always thoroughly check around the vehicle before getting in and driving
  • Install rear visibility cameras or sensors on your car
  • Educate children about driveway safety

Topics:  cars child safety driving editors picks legislation motoring


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