The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday, March 23, held a daylong public hearing with industry leaders, public interest groups and victims to hear their views on government proposals on safety measures to help eliminate blind zones behind vehicles that can hide the presence of pedestrians, especially young children and the elderly.
“Every year, nearly 300 people are killed and 18,000 more are injured when someone, often a parent or grandparent, backs over them,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “To put an end to these tragedies, we have proposed a new safety rule and are seeking further public feedback.”
In December, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a rearview visibility safety regulation to reduce back-over fatalities and injuries. The proposed rule was required by Congress as part of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007. Two-year-old Cameron Gulbransen, for whom the act is named, was killed when his father accidentally backed over him in the family’s driveway.
At the public hearing, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland noted that the goal of the hearing was to provide an opportunity for industry groups, safety advocates, victims and other interested parties to present their views on the back-over problem directly to the agency, including discussions of the countermeasures the agency is currently proposing.
“Safety is our top priority, and the steps we are proposing, with the public’s help and input, will reduce back-over fatalities and injuries not only to children, but to the elderly, and other pedestrians,” Strickland says. The agency will be accepting public comments until April 18 and intends to issue a final rule by the end of the year.