In 2008, Congress passed the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act in reaction to the tragic death of a young boy who had been accidentally backed over by his father. Though the law requires the National Highway Traffic safety Administration (NHTSA) to address rear safety and back over accident risks by passenger vehicles, the NHTSA has yet to do so with any success. Had the agency acted with greater urgency, 5-year-old Kerri Collins might have been spared her severe injuries in a back over accident while riding her bike in Florida a few weeks ago.
Championing Back Over Accident Prevention
In late 2010, the NHTSA proposed that all new passenger vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less be outfitted with back up cameras by 2014. T his technology is aimed at reducing the hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries caused by back over accidents each year. The cameras provide drivers with a picture of what is occurring behind them, which can be especially helpful in increasing visibility in SUV’s, vans and other large vehicles.
When the NHTSA released its proposal, the agency received hundreds of public comments voicing concern over the nature of the regulation. The major automakers also voiced concern that the cost involved in implementing the regulation would be substantial enough that a 2014 compliance deadline might be unreasonable. The NHTSA reacted to the public and corporate concerns by postponing the proposal’s advancement until it can further analyze the proposal and tweak the final rule. The cost concerns which fueled both the public and the automakers to voice their opposition are understandable. However, the lives and bodily safety of the nation’s children, cyclists and pedestrians should be the priority of the NHTSA above all else.
Friday, May 13, 2011