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Parents Sue DOT for Failing to Implement Rear Visibility Standard

Back in 2008, a bipartisan law was supported by then-senator Obama ordered the Department of Transportation to issue a rear visibility rule by 2011.  Every week at least 50 children in the U.S. are run over by a vehicle backing up, resulting in 48 requiring ER treatment, and at least 2 dying.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are an estimated 228 fatalities and 17,000 injuries per year from back up accidents.  Tragically, the most common victims of backup accidents are very young children between the ages of 12 to 23 months.  The bipartisan law developed to stem this problem, the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act (pdf), was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2008.  However, it now requires a final ruling and is two years overdue.  In response to the failure to institute the law, parents who have lost their children to tragic backup accidents aren’t staying quiet.

Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act

The law would require the NHTSA to expand drivers’ rearview field of vision by implementing inexpensive technology, the rearview camera, in all vehicles.  Rearview cameras are standard equipment in most (70%) 2012 vehicles, and research shows that consumers would be willing to pay for safety.  Additionally, the cost of rearview cameras is reasonable, with estimates far below what the NHTSA originally provided in 2010 ($159-$203 for a camera).  The NHTSA is also accused of underestimating the number of lives that could be saved by rearview cameras by at least 33%.

Parents’ Lawsuit Hopes to Change the Tide

In response to the failure to implement the law, Dr. Greg Gulbransen, whose child was killed in a backup accident, and Sue Auriemma, whose child was injured in a similar accident, along with Consumers Union, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and filed suit in New York.  The lawsuit petitions the Second Circuit United States Court of Appeals to issue an order directing the Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, to comply with the backover safety rule.  If you want to get involved to help save lives needlessly lost in backover accidents, you can call:

Public Citizen: Ben Somberg, (202) 588-7742

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety: Beth Weaver, (301) 814-4088

Consumers Union: David Butler, (202) 462-6262 Janette Fennell, (415) 336-9279

It’s time we step up and protect our children, even if our lawmakers refuse to do so!

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