Proposal Aims to Reduce Back-Up Accident Tragedies
Posted on Apr 1 , 2013
Every year tragedy strikes when hundreds of children are injured or killed due to cars or trucks backing over them. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 300 deaths and 18,000 injuries can be attributed to back-over motor vehicle accidents. Advocacy groups and the NHTSA believe the number could be reduced significantly-even halved-if back-up cameras were mandatory in new cars. It is an idea the federal government has been considering since the passing of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007. Federal Government Proposes Mandatory Camera Systems In December 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed that most cars be equipped with back-up camera systems to reduce and eliminate blind spots. According to the proposal, ten percent of new vehicles would have back-up cameras installed by September 2012. The next year, 40 percent. By September 2014, the proposal calls for 100 percent compliance from automakers making rearview cameras a standard feature. Safety advocates believe the required technology will help reduce the number of children killed in these types of car accidents each year. In announcing the proposal, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, "There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or seriously injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle." Unfortunately, the proposed back-up camera requirement has not been extended to commercial vehicles. It is true that 18-wheelers have safety features in place, such as back-up beeper alarms, flashing strobe lights and side mounted rear view mirrors, but the additional safety provided by back-up cameras is lacking. In some jurisdictions, new requirements have been put in place for mandatory cross-view convex mirrors (crossover mirror) to reduce the chance of back-over accidents. However, even in those jurisdictions, back-up cameras are not yet required for commercial trucks and the risks of deadly back-up accident injuries remain. Best Line of Defense is to Make Safety First Some in the auto industry believe the mandatory back-up camera systems would be too costly. However, advocates are quick to point out that the cost is worth the added safety benefits. Additionally, the extra costs associated with the camera systems may also be offset by lower auto insurance premiums. Skeptics are concerned that back-up cameras would not provide the full measure of safety expected. Rather, drivers could become complacent due to a false sense of security. With or without rearview cameras, the best defense, critics say, is for drivers to get out and check behind vehicles before backing up. Even with new safety technology in place, accidents may still occur. If you were injured in a Louisiana car accident, it is important to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Attorney Gordon McKernan can discuss your injuries and help you determine the best course of action to hold the responsible party accountable.