Expected regulation will require back-up cameras, prevent deaths

On behalf of Rock Palermo of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC posted on March 7, 2012.

It would chill a Lake Charles parent's heart to hear of a child innocently standing behind a vehicle and being backed over. Unfortunately, this is not just an irrational fear, but a real problem for parents and children across Louisiana and the rest of the country. Although most drivers do not intentionally run children over, these negligent mistakes still cause fatal accidents, traumatizing the family members who lose young children.

In an effort to address rear visibility and back-over accidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to issue a final mandate to Congress soon that will hopefully make cars safer for young pedestrians. The mandate will require all car manufacturers to install rearview cameras in all passenger vehicles by 2014. Instead of making these safety tools an expensive and optional add-on, all vehicles will now have the equipment to clearly see in dangerous blind spots.

Back-over injuries and deaths disproportionately affect young children. Of the 228 people who die each year when hit by a reversing vehicle, 44 percent are under the age of 5. Although there are large numbers of older children, teens and adults that are also killed in back-over accidents, it is clear that this regulation will greatly benefit the youngest of children.

In addition, 17,000 people are injured by reversing passenger vehicles each year.

Louisiana parents know that if a neighbor or family friend accidentally backs over their child it was not intentional, but that doesn't forgive the driver's negligence in ensuring his or her car was clear of any obstacle -- living or not -- before putting the car in reverse. While a wrongful death lawsuit will not bring that child back, it can help parents bring a sense of justice to the premature and untimely death of their child.

Source: The New York Times, "U.S. Rule Set for Cameras at Cars' Rear," Nick Bunkley, Feb. 27, 2012

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