Tuscaloosa personal injury attorneys note recent reports indicate there are 228 deaths and 17,000 injuries every single year in the United States as a result of backover accidents. A backover accident happens when a car going in reverse runs someone over. Often, the victim of these accidents is either a senior citizen over age 65, or a child under aged 10. In fact, almost half of all backover accident victims are young kids.
Backover accidents typically happen in parking lots and when leaving driveways. Drivers must be sure to carefully check their rear view mirrors in order to avoid causing serious injuries or fatalities to those who may be behind the vehicle. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be difficult for drivers to see what is to their rear. Rear view cameras were supposed to be mandated in order to alleviate this problem, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has delayed the mandate and instead added rearview video systems to its list of recommended safety technologies.
NHTSA’s Actions on Backover Accidents Don’t Go Far Enough to Protect the Public
In 2008, Congress passed a law requiring the government to issue final regulations by February 28, 2011 that would reduce the dangers of backover accidents. Once the regulations were passed, all 2014 vehicle models were required to comply with the new rules and include rear view cameras as mandated technology. Congress didn’t mandate the specific type of regulation the NHTSA should pass, but just suggested that it come up with some technologies to add to cars to reduce the backover accident risk.
The NHTSA’s Report to Congress on vehicle backover avoidance technologies made clear that requiring rear view cameras was the right thing to do, especially as other technologies like sensor-based parking aids weren’t as effective as they should be in detecting kids or other pedestrians in the path of the reversing vehicle. The recommendation by the NHTSA to require rear view cameras was made more than two years ago.
The auto industry, however, came out against the safety improvements, indicating that it would cost $2.7 billion annually for automakers to make rear view cameras standard issue in all cars. The NHTSA acknowledged that there would be some added cost, but expected that the new requirement would add just $88 to the price of cars that already had dashboards screens and between $159 and $203 to cars that needed screens added.
Although 44 percent of 2012 car models already had a rear-view camera as standard equipment, and 27 offered rear cameras as an option, automakers did not want to be forced by the NHTSA to make this fundamental tech change. Fortunately for these automakers (and unfortunately for people on the road), now, they won’t have to. The NHTSA delayed the rear-view camera requirement in early summer 2013, and has now simply added rear cameras to its list of Recommended Advanced Technology features in order to urge car makers to voluntarily add these cameras.
Unfortunately, this means many lives may be lost in backover accidents since these rear view cameras will not be a required feature in all cars as soon as safety experts had hoped.
Tuscaloosa Car Accident Victims May Get Faster Help With Yellow Dot, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, October 1, 2013