Delays in Back Up Camera Regulations Expose Kids to Backover Accident Risks

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Despite legislation passed by Congress in 2009 to track backover accidents that cause hundreds of fatal accidents involving children each year, the mandates of the law have been repeatedly postponed.  According to federal statistics, fifty children are backed over by vehicles every week in the U.S.  The legislation directed that regulations be adopted to mandate equipping all new vehicles with backup cameras.  This requirement has been repeatedly postponed several times which includes the Obama Administration’s decision to defer the long-delayed regulation until 2015. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides insight into the significant human costs associated with delaying this technology.  This data reveals over of a thousand fatalities and 70,000 injuries in backover accidents since the legislation was first proposed.  The repeated delays in implementing this requirement recently prompted a lawsuit that alleges the Department of Transportation has unreasonably postponed the regulation exacting a significant cost in human lives.  While Edmunds.com reports that 77 percent of new 2013 vehicles included back up cameras as either a standard or optional feature, some public safety advocates argue that this is insufficient. The evolving preferences of U.S. consumers has made the issue a higher priority because these collisions are more common when backing an SUV, pickup truck or minivan in which drivers sit higher above the ground.  Approximately 6 in 10 of these backing up accidents involve this type of motor vehicle which positions a driver further from the ground.  Consumer Reports conducted tests to quantify the relationship between the size of vehicles and the area of the blind spot behind a vehicle:
  • Small Sedan: 12-24 feet
  • Minivan: 15-26 feet
  • Midsize SUV: 18-29 feet
  • Average Pickup: 23-34 feet
  • Worst Performance (Particular Midsize SUV): 68 feet
Another innovation in vehicle designs also has contributed to the likelihood of running over a pedestrian when backing up.  Hybrids and electric cars do not make noise which increases the risk of backover accidents involving small children and elderly pedestrians. Despite their safety benefits, these cameras also are not a panacea that eliminates the risk of hitting pedestrians when a vehicle is in reverse.  Motorists must still check the monitor, identify a potential collision and respond in time to prevent the accident.  Even with backup cameras, there are blind spots that cameras will not make visible.  Further, poor visibility because of weather can limit the effectiveness of the cameras. While our Louisville backover accident lawyers support measures to implement regulations mandating backup cameras in new vehicles, there are other measures that can reduce the risk in the meantime.  The NHTSA urges parents to educate children about playing in and near driveways and to be vigilant in knowing where toddlers are playing at all times.  The federal agency also advises that parents check behind a car, truck or SUV before sitting in the driver’s seat to ensure that small children, pets and objects are not located in the blind spot behind the vehicle. If you or someone close to you is injured in a backing up accident in Kentucky, our experienced Louisville backover accident attorneys at the Bruce Law Group can answer your questions and explain your rights.  We offer a free consultation so call us today at (502) 489-8887 or contact us via email.