NHTSA Helps Prevent Back-Over Pedestrian Accidents

It’s terrible to imagine that each year in the United States, almost 300 individuals are killed and 18,000 more suffer injury due to another person (usually a parent, grandparent, or caregiver) backing over them with a vehicle. In December 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the proposal of a new safety regulation to aid in the prevention of back-over pedestrian injuries and fatalities caused by vehicle blind zones. Congress made the rule mandatory under the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007. The Act is named after two-year-old Cameron Gulbransen, who was killed after his father unintentionally backed over him in the family driveway.

Under the proposal, the mandatory field of view would be expanded for all passenger cars, pickup trucks, minivans, buses, and low-speed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of up to 10,000 pounds. This change would ensure that drivers can see directly behind the vehicle when the car is in reverse. It is even possible that car makers might install rear mounted video cameras and in-vehicle displays to meet the rearview visibility safety regulation standards explained in the proposal.

A day-long public hearing was held by the NHTSA on March 23 to provide government policymakers, victims, industry representatives, public interest groups, safety advocates, and other interested individuals the chance to discuss concerns and issues about back-over accidents. The NHTSA was accepting comments about the new proposal until April 18 at Docket No. NHTSA-2010-0162, available at http://www.regulations.gov. The NHTSA plans on introducing a final rear-view visibility rule by the end of this year.

Sadly, children and the elderly are especially at risk of being injured or killed because of back-over crashes. Data provided by the NHTSA suggests that about 44 percent of fatalities involving light vehicles in back-over accidents are children under five, and 33 percent of fatalities are elderly individuals aged 70 or above. The remaining percentage of victims has not been specifically categorized.

As Portland pedestrian accident attorneys, we understand the seemingly endless list of challenges that pedestrian accident victims have to deal with. When you are trying to focus on healing and getting the medical treatment you need to recover, we know that the last thing you want to do is resolve problems with insurance companies and the driver who caused your accident. At Shulman DuBois, we offer free consultations to injury victims and family members of those killed in motor vehicle accidents. Call us today at 503-222-4411.