Kansas City, MO - June 21, 2013... For the fourth time the Department of Transportation is defying a Congressional order to set a rule to improve rear visibility so drivers can see small children immediately behind their vehicles.
"The DOT is dragging its feet knowing that more children are dying every week from preventable backover tragedies," stated Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org, a national nonprofit child safety organization working to prevent injuries and deaths of children in and around vehicles. The DOT's own proposed rule had estimated that the measure would prevent 95 to 112 fatalities and 7,072 to 8,374 injuries annually.
"For over 100 years there has been no standard on what a driver should be able to see behind their vehicle. You simply cannot avoid backing into something or someone that you cannot see and we are all backing up blindly," Fennell said. "It's already been 5 years since the bill was signed into law, and they want to wait 2 more. There is no excuse for further delay when we already have affordable and available technology to fix the problem. Today nearly every cell phone comes with a camera. Is it too much to ask to have a camera in your vehicle to save your child's life?"
The 2008 Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act required a rear visibility rule to be set by Feb. 28, 2011. In 2010 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed mandating rear-view cameras for all vehicles, phased in through 2014.
John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV, chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, responded to the delay, stating, "I am deeply disappointed by the Administration's foot dragging over a rule that could help save the lives of hundreds of young children and prevent thousands of heartbreaking injuries." In a news release he said hewill pressMayor Anthony Foxx, once confirmed as transportation secretary, to finalizethe rule before the proposed new 2015 deadline.
An average 50 children are backed over by vehicles every week in the US, KidsAndCars.org reports. NHTSA estimates that, on average, 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur each year as a result of back-over crashes.
Stories and photos of children who've died in backovers are shown at http://www.kidsandcars.org/back-overs.html