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US DOT Fights Backover Accidents with Proposed Rear View Visibility Rule

In an attempt to protect pedestrians—especially kids and the elderly—from backover accidents, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a new safety regulation to get rid of the blind zones that exist behind motor vehicles. Congress mandated the proposed rule under the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007. Gulbranesen, 2, was killed after his father backed a car over him by accident in their driveway.
Under the proposed rule, the field of view for all pickup trucks, passenger cars, buses, minivans, and low-speed autos with a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 or greater would be expanded so that drivers would be able to see directly in the back of the auto when its transmission is in reverse. Auto manufacturers would likely have to install in-vehicle displays and rear mounted video cameras to meet the proposed standards.
In order to satisfy the rule’s requirement, 10% of new autos would have to be in compliance by September 2012. By September 2013 there would have to be 40% compliance among outs. 100% compliance would have to be in effect by September 2014. The NHTSA, however, is quick to point out even when new technology has been put in place, driver attention is still necessary.
According to NHTSA:

  • About 18,000 injuries and 292 deaths take place each year because of back-over accidents.
  • Kids and the elderly are especially vulnerable to backover injuries.

NHTSA is allowing for a 6-day comment period on this rulemaking. This period starts when the Federal Register publishes the proposal.
Unfortunately, poor visibility, blind spots, and driver inattention can cause a motorist backing out of a driveway, road, or parking space to accidentally run over a pedestrian or a bicyclist. Even if the motorist isn’t going at a fast speed, serious injuries and deaths can result.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles are involved in more backover accidents than other vehicles. A larger blind spot and the fact that the motorist is usually seated higher off the ground increases these vehicles’ backover risk because it makes it harder for drivers to see.
U.S. DOT Proposes Rear View Visibility Rule to Protect Kids and the Elderly, NHTSA, December 3, 2010
Backover Crashes, IIHS
Related Web Resources:
Backover Infomation, Kids and Cars.org
One Child’s Death is One Too Many – Preventing Backovers in America’s Driveways, AAA Exchange
Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007, Public Citizen

Our auto products liability law firm represents the families of kids that have been seriously injured or killed in car crashes. Our child injury lawyers would be happy to offer you a free case evaluation.

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