Will Proposed NHTSA Rule Help Prevent North Carolina Backover Accidents?

December 8, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing a rule that will hopefully decrease the number of vehicle backover accidents that occur. Under the proposed rule, pickup trucks, passenger cars, buses, minivans, and low-speed autos that have a gross vehicle weight rating of no more than 10,000 pounds would have to be equipped with a field of view that would allow their drivers to see directly behind the autos when the cars are going in reverse. NHTSA believes that in-vehicle displays and rear-mounted video cameras could satisfy this requirement.

Meeting the proposed rule’s requirements means that 10% of new autos have to be in compliance by September 2012, 40% by September 2013, and 100% by September 2014. The proposed rule was required under the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007, which was named after a 2-year-old boy who died when his dad accidentally backed over him with an auto.

NHTSA says that about 292 deaths and 18,000 injuries annually can be attributed to back-over accidents. Light weight vehicles weighing no more than 10,000 pounds or under played a role in 228 of these deaths. About 44% of the victims of these light vehicle crashes were kids, while 33% were seniors from the 70 and over age group.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyers represent the families of children and the elderly who have suffered serious pedestrian injuries in a traffic crash. In some cases, a tragic traffic crash will happen because a driver was negligent. In other cases, pedestrian error was the cause. Still, other cases can occur because of a vehicle malfunctioned or was designed inadequately.

Even when all new vehicles are equipped with new backover prevention technology, a driver must still pay attention and exercise caution. Here are some steps to prevent becoming involved in a backover crash:

• Look behind the car and make sure there is no one behind the vehicle.
• Back up slowly.
• Constantly check back there to make sure there is no one behind you.
• Know how big your blind spot it so that you can work with it.
• Pay attention
• Don’t drive while distracted.

U.S. DOT Proposes Rear View Visibility Rule to Protect Kids and the Elderly, NHTSA, December 3, 2010

Rear Visibility Rulemaking, NHTSA (PDF)

Backover Crashes, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Blind zones and backover accidents, Consumer Reports


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