According to KidsAndCars.org, approximately 50 children are injured every week as a result of someone accidentally backing over them in a vehicle. Of those 50 injuries per week, two of them are fatal and about two-thirds occur from a parent or close relative who was driving the vehicle.
This week federal regulators are expected to announce that car manufacturers will be required to include rearview cameras in all new vehicles by the year 2014. The addition of this technology could cost the auto industry as much as $200 per car, or upwards of $2.7 billion dollars annually, with consumers likely bearing the brunt of the now mandatory expense.
Regulators estimate that more than 8300 injuries and as many as 112 deaths could be avoided each year with the installation of these cameras. And, although that number may seem relatively insignificant, in a recent interview, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington, Clarence Ditlow offered some perspective, saying, “In terms of absolute numbers of lives saved, it certainly isn’t the highest. But in terms of emotional tragedy, back-over deaths are some of the worst imaginable. When you have a parent that kills a child in an incident that’s utterly avoidable, they don’t ever forget it.”
Safety advocate Janette Fennell, founder of KidsAndCars.org, seemed to compare poor rear visibility to the idea of driving blind, saying, “We wouldn’t buy a car if we couldn’t see 30 or 40 feet going forward. We’re taking this big lethal weapon going in reverse, and we can’t see.”
Although no one’s reversing their car at 60 miles per hour (or even 20), Fennell still raises an interesting point. Poor visibility is dangerous, and requiring this new technology should help eliminate a small but significant safety risk. Plus, since 44% of all victims from these types of accidents are under the age of five, it certainly adds some additional sympathy to the cause.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/amcgore/5547952671/