While a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association indicates that there has been a substantial decline in the number of child pedestrian fatalities nationwide since 1975, our Charlotte car accident attorneys know there is one type of crash that remains of particular concern to parents and traffic safety advocates. That is back-over accidents, in which drivers pulling out of driveways, parking spots and other areas strike children who are behind the vehicle.
These crashes disproportionately impact children, primarily because they aren’t tall enough for the driver to see them standing near the rear of the vehicle and also because children don’t recognize the dangers. Driver inattention is also often blamed. Motor vehicle operators simply back out without taking a few seconds to look behind them and make sure the path is clear.
It’s for this reason that the National Highway Traffic Safety Association has announced its intention to mandate that all vehicles manufactured as of May 1, 2018 be equipped with backup cameras, also referred to as “rear-view visibility systems.”
The new rule would pertain to all light vehicles, including cars, trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles. The rule has been proposed and is expected to be finalized within two months. Auto manufacturers could begin phasing them into 2016 models, and 100 percent compliance will be expected by May 2018.
The cameras would allow drivers to have an expanded 10-foot-by-20-foot view directly behind the car. Specifications for image size and other details are contained in the proposal.
The NHTSA reported back in 2010 that an estimated 15,000 people are injured in vehicle back-up incidents, and another 210 are killed. Nearly a third of those are children under the age of 5. Another 26 percent are adults over the age of 70.
With the passage of this measure, the agency anticipates that nearly 70 lives could be saved annually, along with several thousand injuries prevented.
NHTSA officials and other traffic safety advocates have been pushing for a measure like this for years, and the original plan had been for them to required on all 2014 model year vehicles. In fact, Congress passed a law way back in 2011 ordering the Department of Transportation to issue a requirement for either sensory warning devices or backup cameras on all trucks and cars. Obviously, that didn’t happen, and is in no small part due to the fact that there was strong opposition from the auto industry. This is the same auto industry, of course, that reportedly refused to replace a faulty ignition issue because of the cost – roughly $2 per vehicle. Federal regulators now say that action led to at least 13 deaths.
Still, some manufacturers have taken initiative and already begun to install backup cameras on vehicles, in part because consumers are demanding it. Some companies have offered it standard on most newer models.
In projecting how fast compliance will come, the NHTSA posits that about two-thirds of all vehicle manufacturers will be voluntarily in compliance by the 2018 deadline. At that point, the cost per vehicle will be between $132 to $142 for each system. All vehicles on the road should be in compliance sometime around 2055, estimates the agency.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
NHTSA to require backup cameras on all vehicles, April 1, 2014, By Chris Woodyard, USA Today
More Blog Entries:
Pedestrian Accidents Increase in North Carolina: Report, April 3, 2014, Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Blog