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Danger in the driveway: backup accidents and rearview cameras

When most of us think of truck accidents, we think of big rigs. After all, the image of an 18-wheeler jackknifing or otherwise going out of control, putting others on the road at risk, is a vivid one. And big trucks do cause thousands of accidents with serious injuries and fatalities across the country every year.

But there is another type of truck accident that, though smaller in scope, can be just as devastating and deadly. Yesterday, in Colin County, Texas, a toddler was killed in her own driveway after her four-year-old brother inadvertently put the family's truck into neutral. The truck rolled ahead, instantly killing the little girl.

This accident is not only tragic in its own right. It is also a reminder of the risks that small children face from motor vehicles, even in their own driveways.  

Many children, and others as well, die in backup accidents in driveways. These are accidents in which drivers who are backing fail to see what is behind them, but continue backing and cause injuries or death.

Safety groups and federal regulators believe that the number of these accidents could be cut substantially through a federal requirement that new vehicles be outfitted with mandatory rearview cameras. To be sure, rearview cameras would not have prevented the tragic truck accident in Colin County. But such cameras would enable drivers to get a better view of what is behind them when backing up.

And yet there have been repeated delays in the development of a federal rule to require these cameras. The most recent delay was announced in June, and a mandatory rule is now not expected until 2015. In part two of this post, we will discuss the reasons for latest postponement in the rearview camera rule.


Source: NBCDFW, "Family Mourns Toddler Killed By Truck," Catherine Ross, August 26, 2013

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