New Governmental Regulations Seek to Improve Vehicle Safety

Recently, the federal government proposed new rules aimed at improving rear visibility standards for vehicles. The requirements, which the Transportation Department intends to take effect by the 2014 model year, were created to address concerns about drivers unintentionally backing over children. The Associated Press reports that most car makers will comply by installing rear-mounted video cameras and in-vehicles displays, which the governments estimates will add approximately $200 to the cost of each new vehicle.

According to data kept by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, every year, nearly 300 people are killed and 18,000 are injured because of backovers. Nearly half of the deaths involve children under the age of five and in approximately 70 percent of the cases, it is a family member who is responsible for the death., whose website entry regarding the recent regulations calls this the biggest announcement since seatbelts and airbags, is a Kansas-based nonprofit organization that has pushed for these changes for years. Founder and president Janette Fennell reportedly said, “No one would buy a car if you couldn’t see 20-30 feet feet going forward, but we all have been buying vehicles where we can’t see 20-30 feet going backwards.” As the photo above illustrates, studies have shown that the bigger the vehicle, the bigger the blind spot. Sedans have an average blind spot of 12 feet, minivans have an average blind spot of 13 feet, SUVs have an average of blind spot of 14 feet, and pickup trucks have double that number, with a blind spot of approximately 30 feet. The shorter the driver, the bigger the blind spot.

The current changes reportedly have been in the works for a number of years, with President Bush’s 2005 signing of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, and Congress’s 2008 setting in motion of safety upgrades dealing specifically with backover accidents. Look for this safety upgrade during your next new car purchase.