Before backing up your vehicle, you need to buckle your seatbelt, check your mirrors, adjust your seat, and possibly soon, check your video monitor for anyone behind your car.
The Transportation Department is proposing new requirements for car makers to add rearview cameras in more vehicles to help end tragic accidents that involve unintentionally backing over children.
By 2014, the department wants car manufactures to install the camera and in-vehicle displays to improve rear visibility in cars.
Backover accidents kill nearly 300 people and cause 18,000 injured each year. Nearly half the deaths involve children younger than five-years-old and the elderly, according to data kept by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And in about 70 percent of the cases, a family member is responsible for the death, said Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Cars, a Kansas-based safety group, to The Associated Press.
"There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, to the AP. He said the changes would "help drivers see into those blind zones directly behind vehicles to make sure it is safe to back up."
Only about 20 percent of 2010 vehicles have video cameras and object detection sensors onboard. If the requirement passes, 10 percent of the vehicle fleet will need to meet the standards by the 2012 model year, followed by 40 percent in 2013 and all new vehicles by 2014, according to the AP.
As a North Charleston car accident attorney, , I think this requirement is a good idea. The technology is relatively inexpensive and could help save hundreds of lives every year. The proposal is expected to be completed in 2011, giving time for public comment.