Today the U.S. Transportation Department again delayed the mandate that rearview cameras be standard on 2014 passenger vehicles, this time until the end of the year. No reason was given.
The law was passed to protect pedestrians from being run over by vehicles when the drivers are backing up and fail to see them. This happens a lot more than you might imagine, with 228 deaths tragically occuring each year, or two a week. 44% of these are children who are four years old or younger. And a startling 17,000 people are injured – many seriously — when they are run over each year.
I realize this will cost more — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates an additional $160.00 to $200.00 (with the camera installed in the mirror, not in the dash) — but this seems like a relatively small price to pay. This is especially true since this camera is
already standard on almost half of all new cars and on option available on 24% of other new models.
And we are obviously concerned with vehicle safety, with required seat belts, padded dashboards, rear view windows, brake lights, and a host of other features we all take for granted. In fact former secretary of transportation Elizabeth Dole (wife of Republican senator and presidential contender Robert Dole) was behind the requirement to add a third brake light.
Blind spots, especially in oversized SUVs, vans, and trucks are obviously enormous. But even the Cadillac four door coupe has a rear blind spot of 101 feet.
U.S. government: start doing more to save children’s and pedestrians’ lives. Now.