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Many parents carry a ‘baby on board’ sticker on their back windscreens, and such stickers are designed to alert the emergency services that a small baby or child is in the car in the event of an accident. The stickers also serve as an effective way of encouraging motorists to be more careful around these cars.
However, a recent survey has revealed that ‘baby on board’ stickers could be a distraction for drivers and could be the possible cause of one in twenty accidents. The problem being that the stickers can actually obscure a driver’s vision through the car’s rear window.
The survey, conducted by Confused.com, suggested that if drivers are to use the signs, they should do so with discretion. There was also a call for drivers to minimise the clutter in their cars for safety reasons. Even some of the best family cars can contain lots of items which can stack up against the back windscreen and obscure the view further.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of the charity Brake said: “Baby On Board’ signs are useful in alerting the emergency services that a child may be involved in the event of a crash. This help can become a hindrance if drivers display signs when their child isn’t in the vehicle,”
“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.”
The poll, which questioned 2,000 motorists, found that almost half of parents displayed stickers regardless of whether their child was in the car at the time, with an additional 15 per cent actually admitting to using the stickers for their novelty value. The remaining respondents regarded the stickers as a hazard.
The findings were questioned by Robert Gifford, executive director of the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety who said: “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.”