DOT Offers Proposal to Improve Vehicle Rear-View Visibility and Save Children’s Lives
In the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) ongoing effort to increase driving safety, the organization submitted a proposal in December to make car back-up cameras mandatory. The proposal was developed as a means to improve rear-view visibility in vehicles as mandated by a law signed by President Bush as a result of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007.
The Act was named for a child who was killed by his father as he was backing out of his driveway not realizing the two-year-old boy was playing behind the vehicle. The DOT estimates that every year, nearly 300 people are killed and 18,000 more are injured in back-over accidents. These accidents happen throughout the United States, and the state of New York, including Binghamton, is no exception.
Since their 16-month old son Alec was backed over and killed by a relative, a Long Island, NY, couple has worked tirelessly to ensure the same thing does not happen to another family. The couple created a website, alecsrunli.com, and they organize an annual run in their son’s memory. The money raised goes to the Alec William Nelson Charitable Corporation which supports the Hospice Care Network for bereavement services, and towards helping needy children enjoy activities they could not otherwise afford.
Half of the nearly 300 fatalities that result from drivers backing over someone are children under five. Virtually all of the deaths are someone that the driver knows such as a neighbor, friend, or a family member. The NHTSA estimates that 112 lives could be saved annually by placing back-up cameras in cars.
Analysis conducted by National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) researchers determined that back-up cameras are the most effective and affordable means to improving visibility in vehicle blind spots. Alternatives explored, including sensor devices, were not as effective.
Until a mandatory solution is adopted, the NHTSA offers tips for parents to prevent their children from being injured or killed by drivers backing up:
- Ensure children are properly supervised at all times, especially where motor vehicles might be present.
- Educate children to play in areas where there are no vehicles, such as driveways, parking lots or roadways.
- Make sure all drivers in the household know to carefully check the street, driveway, and area around their vehicles before backing out, especially if children are around.
- Do not allow children to play in the driveway.
- Never leave vehicles running, and keep all vehicles, even those in driveways and garages, locked up tight.
- When backing up, always know where all children are and have them stay in full view and well away from the moving vehicle.
- Stay alert when backing out of a driveway or parking spaces keeping the car windows rolled down to listen for children who may have suddenly appeared behind the vehicle.
NHTSA is proposing a phased-in approach for equipping cars to meet the safety criteria for improved rear-view visibility that will be mandated by a law with 100% of the vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2014. Currently, the proposal is delayed due to automaker concerns.
The accident attorneys at Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law applaud any efforts the DOT can take to save children and others from needless vehicular deaths. We also encourage NY drivers to be alert for children and pedestrians behind their cars when backing up. Driver safety awareness is essential for keeping New York residents safe.
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