NHTSA Proposal for Backup Cameras
Santa Clara County Pedestrian Accident Lawyers
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a division of the Department of Transportation, last year, more than 4,000 pedestrians were killed in traffic-related crashes, and another 59,000 pedestrians were injured. Every eight minutes, a pedestrian is injured in a car-related incident. Every two hours, a pedestrian is killed as a result of a traffic-related crash. While the NHTSA has a number of comprehensive pedestrian safety programs, the agency has also mandated that automobile manufacturers make changes to improve pedestrian safety.
In early December 2010, the NHTSA proposed a new safety regulation designed to eliminate vehicle blind zones that can hide the presence of pedestrians, specifically young children and the elderly. These two groups account for 44 and 33 percent, respectively, of pedestrian fatalities. In many states, the problem has become a major public safety issue. Population, tourism, climate, high-speed roads and the shortage of pedestrian education programs are all contributing factors.
While the NHTSA has issued a number of new safety standards over the past year, this proposed regulation is required by the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007 (KTS Act), which became law in February 2008. The KTS Act was inspired by a series of tragic accidents involving pedestrian children. It was named for Cameron Gulbransen, a two-year-old boy killed when his father was not able to see behind his SUV. The visibility regulation would expand the required field of view for cars, trucks, minivans, buses and low-speed vehicles.
While the rules do not specify how automakers are to meet the requirements, the NHTSA believes that manufacturers could comply with the new standard by installing rear-mounted video cameras, mirrors and sensors. At a cost of between $1.9 billion to $2.7 billion annually for the automotive industry, the rules require that 10 percent of new vehicles comply with the standard by 2012, another 40 percent by September 2013 and all vehicles by September 2014.
The NHTSA estimates that almost 300 lives and nearly 18,000 injuries will be prevented with these simple technological changes. While technology does not serve to replace smart and safe habits, the new standards have proven that highway safety is not only about drivers and cars, but also about safeguarding pedestrians.