Baby on board signs are meant to alert motorists and emergency personnel that there is a baby in the car, in the event of an accident, and that the motorists behind should keep a safe following distance.
But according to a new survey conducted in the UK, these signs have led to one in 20 motorists having an accident.
According to this survey, which was carried out by Confused.com, all drivers are to use the signs with caution.
How do they cause accidents?
These signs have now been criticised as being a distraction, as they obscure a driver’s vision through the car’s rear window.
“Motorists need to ensure that their view is not obscured and that they have a clear view of the road around them at all times,” said a UK Department of Transport spokesman.
Their advantages and disadvantages
Baby On Board’ signs are useful in alerting the emergency services that a child may be in the car, in the event of a crash,” said Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of the charity, Brake.
“This help can become a hindrance if drivers display signs when their child isn’t in the vehicle,” she said. “Worse still is the danger that can be posed by drivers obscuring their view by cluttering up windows with lots of signs.
“Drivers’ priority should always be getting there safely without putting themselves, young passengers or other road users at risk,” added Townsend.
According to the poll of 2,000 drivers, 46 per cent of parents displayed the signs even when there wasn’t a child in the car at the time or not.
About 15 per cent said they had the stickers for their novelty value, while 46 per cent regarded them as a hazard.
The findings, suggest that the signs have caused two million accidents. This was questioned by Andrew Howard, the AA’s head of road safety. “There are 150,000 injury accidents a year and about 10 times as many metal to metal crunches,” added Howard.
‘According to the UK government’s figures, in car distraction is the cause for about 3 percent, and vehicle blind spots for 2 percent. Motorists should, of course, put stickers in a windscreen where it doesn’t interfere with your view,” he said.
Equally cautious about the findings was Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety.
“I think we have to be very careful not to draw too many conclusions from these self-reported figures – drivers will always try to find something else to blame than their own misjudgement. The key point to remember is that you are in charge of the car at all times and that your view should not be obscured,” said Gifford.
The history of the baby on board sign
These signs are said to date back to the 1980’s when they were first put on sale by the Safety 1st Corporation in the UK.
Their original purpose was to drive carefully in the presence of a car transporting a child.
From 2005, Transport for London started handing out the signs to pregnant commuters.
Parents have also been asked to de-clutter their cars, and remove children’s toys that may block their view.