Almost 1,000 people have died in backover accidents since 2008 when a bill requiring all new cars and light trucks to be fitted with a rearview camera was signed into Law. According to an Editorial in The Tampa Bay Times of March 19, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates approximately 221 U.S. deaths and 14,000 injuries annually are a result of backover accidents by drivers who didn't see someone behind their vehicle. Kids and Cars, a Kansas-based group advocating the rearview camera says, “two children are killed and another 50 injured each week in backover incidents,” and most of the child victims are between the ages of 12 and 23 months. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) acknowledges that approximately 300 lives would be saved annually if rearview cameras in vehicles were implemented. Rearview cameras are already standard equipment nearly 50 percent of all 2012 model vehicles sold in the United States, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
Yet, the DOT is having difficulty getting agreement on a final rule by those with authority to sign off, including regulators, vehicle safety advocates, and vehicle manufacturers. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, having pushed back the date of implementation of the final rule again to December 31, 2012, is receiving criticism from safety advocates who maintain it’s too long to wait for a rearview camera that would make the nation’s driveways safer—for DOT’s enforcement of a 2008 law. It’s also possible that the 2012 date may also affect whether the rearview cameras can be installed in time in new 2014 vehicles.
This is an important safety evolution for automobiles, and it should be implemented soon. Lives and families will be saved.
 “Rearview Safety Shouldn’t Be Optional,” Editorial, The Tampa Bay Times, March 19, 2012. http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/article1220407.ece
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