Safety Sells…..Safety Saves Lives…………We have found ways to keep occupants inside the vehicle during a crash with the addition of seatbelts and airbags; saving countless lives. Children are now transported in car seats and this change has saved an incalculable number of children from injury or death.
The KidsAndCars.org (KAC) child safety organization led the efforts to ensure that all car trunks are escapable. And with that simple change, there has NOT been one fatality in the trunk of a car that has this safety feature. Not one death….simple safety changes work…..
For over a decade KAC has been working on another one of those common sense changes that needs to be implemented immediately. Cars have been manufactured in this country for over 100 years and there has NEVER been a standard about what you should be able to see when you put your vehicle into reverse and backup slowly. No standard; no suggestions; no hints and not even a recommendation! It’s a proven fact that we are all backing up blindly! You must have a rearview mirror in your vehicle; but NOT a rearview.
The KAC database is filled with cases about every parent’s worst nightmare- backing over your own child with your car. Many children are injured or killed because they made the innocent and impulsive mistake of running out to get one more hug or a kiss goodbye just as Daddy puts his vehicle into reverse and starts backing up.
We did EVERYTHING that is required to affectively influence change in this country. Gathered data and then asked the correct agency within the Department of Transportation (DOT) to help us fix this obvious oversight. After being ignored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) we talked with sympathetic members of Congress who we worked with to craft a bi-partisan bill. After several years of bills that went nowhere, the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act was passed and signed by President George W. Bush I February of 2008. “Cameron’s law” did not specify ‘how’ to improve visibility behind vehicles, but instead Congress left that up to transportation officials to figure out auto makers. Congress also said, ‘get this done’ by February 28, 2011.
Instead what happened is…..well, nothing happened. Four heartbreaking delays, hundreds of more children killed and thousands upon thousands of unnecessary injuries.
So, we had no choice……something needed to done without delay…..
On Wednesday, KAC, grieving parents, consumer organizations and traffic safety advocates filed a petition with a U.S. Court of Appeals in New York. We hope to force the DOT to act within the next 90 days on legislation passed five years ago, which would mandate improved rear visibility.
In the meantime, (unless you have a rearview camera installed in your vehicle) we all continue to backup blindly and our children continue to pay the price for something our country knows is killing them……..and can correct with the stroke of a pen.
Headline Image Source: flickr/ShashiBellamkonda