Of the many causes of pedestrian accidents, a driver's failure to see a person who is behind a rearward-moving car or truck is one of the most easily avoided. Pedestrians and cyclists are far-too-commonly crushed between cars or backed over when a driver fails to take the time to ensure that all is clear.
Technology has a proven safety solution in the form of back-up cameras which provide a rear view to drivers. While Congress has mandated installation of these cameras in all cars, trucks, vans and buses by 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently announced a delay in release of the regulation.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood determined in February that the new rule regarding rear visibility standards will not be issued until the end of this year. LaHood indicated in a statement that further study of safety data was required to ensure that the rule is both protective and efficient.
According to NHTSA data, fatal car accidents caused by back-overs kill nearly 300 people nationwide every year and cause approximately 18,000 personal injuries. Rear-visibility issues present particular risks of injuries to children and the elderly: Nearly 80 percent of fatal back-up accident victims are either children under five years old or people aged 70 and older.
Legal Accountability While Regulatory Improvements Develop
Rearview cameras are already standard equipment on 45 percent of models sold in the U.S., but one reason for the delay consists of economic concerns voiced by the auto industry, due to the roughly $200 cost per vehicle. This figure would certainly seem insignificant to a family who has lost a child because a driver failed to ensure that it was safe to back up in a parking lot, driveway or elsewhere.
Any type of pedestrian or bicycle accident can cause serious injuries, including spinal damage and traumatic brain injuries. While we all await the benefits of better regulatory oversight of auto safety, car accident attorneys can help injury victims and wrongful death survivors understand their legal rights in order to hold negligent drivers accountable.