A delay in rules intended to reduce the risk of child injury and death due to back-over car accidents in North Carolina and across the country could have fatal consequences.
Our North Carolina car accident attorneys are disappointed in this news, which was announced by federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood just a few days ago.
Lahood said more time is needed to conduct further data analysis and research before official regulations can be handed down. To some, it appears the government may be bowing to pressure from the auto industry, which is complaining that some of the rules would be costly and time-consuming to implement. In particular, the industry has voiced concern about the proposed requirement that starting in 2014, all vehicles should be equipped with rear view cameras that would allow them to spot young children that may be behind them.
It’s been over a year since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggested a requirement aimed at improving motorists’ rear visibility. It was supposed to be something that would ultimately be phased in for all cars and trucks.
Ami Gadhia, a spokeswoman for Consumer Reports magazine, told the Associated Press that the delay is disappointing. She added that she hoped the day would soon arrive when all vehicles would be equipped with rear visibility technology so that children aren’t hurt and dying needlessly.
The whole issue was kick-started in 2008, when Congress passed a law in response to dozens of crashes in which young children were hurt or killed after being backed over.
Particularly of concern are the wide blind spots for sport utility vehicles.
As the New York Times reported, every single week, two children die and another 50 are hurt when someone backs over them accidentally. In the vast majority of these cases, the person behind the wheel when these incidents occur is a parent or other close relative.
Those with the traffic association have said that mandating these cameras could prevent more than 110 deaths and possibly as many as 8,300 injuries every single years if drivers had a better view of what was behind them. Statistics show that of the approximately 230 people that are killed each year in these kind of accidents, a whopping 45 percent are younger than 5. Another 17,000 people are hurt in back-over accidents every year.
The auto industry, however, is concerned about the price tag, about $200 per vehicle. That breaks down to more than $2.5 billion total, a cost that would ultimately be handed down to buyers.
According to the advocacy group SafeKids.org:
- Most back-over victims are between the ages of 12 and 23 months.
- More than 60 percent of back-over accidents involve a large truck or SUV.
- In more than 70 percent of these cases, a close relative is at fault.
The Lee Law Offices, P.A. represents parents and children who have been injured or killed in North Carolina car accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured in Greensboro, Asheville, Charlotte or the surrounding areas, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-800-887-1965.
Rules to prevent car back-over deaths delayed, By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press