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Industry Objections May Have Delayed NHTSA Pedestrian Safety Measure

A proposed federal measure to improve motor vehicle safety will be delayed by nearly a year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was expected to publish a rule in late February of 2011 creating a phased-in requirement for backup cameras on cars and trucks sold in the U.S. But NHTSA recently requested another 45-day commentary period, and told Congress that the rule could be delayed by ten months.

The rule will require that ten percent of new vehicles be equipped with backup cameras by September 2012, increasing to 40 percent a year later with full compliance required in September of 2014. NHTSA has not provided a reason for the delay, but commentators have speculated that auto companies have challenged the time it should take for the viewing screen to activate when drivers shift into reverse. Delayed implementation of the backup-camera mandate may result from NHTSA’s last-minute change of course.

This common sense safety enhancement, installing a widely available technology in all new cars, will pay immediate dividends by reducing several types of pedestrian accidents. By giving all drivers a clear view of the space immediately behind the car, the chance decreases that children will be backed over in their own driveways, or a pedestrian will be crushed between two cars in a parking lane.

NHTSA estimates show that pedestrian deaths account for about 12 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities. The pedestrian fatality rate in Missouri was slightly below the national average in 2009, but that still meant 68 deaths – most of which could have been prevented with safety enhancements and proper attention. Drivers who fail to yield right-of-way or clip a pedestrian in a crosswalk due to distracted driving must be held accountable when their negligence results in serious injury or wrongful death.

Missouri Car Accident Attorneys Help Clients Assess Their Needs and Seek Recovery

The huge difference in mass and momentum between a fast-moving car or truck and a person who is walking or jogging means that serious injuries are far too common in car/pedestrian accidents. Traumatic brain injuries frequently result when the human skull strikes steel or hard pavement, but broken bones, terrible abrasions or spinal cord injuries are also possible.

The serious nature of pedestrian injuries means that a victim’s or surviving family members’ need for compensation can be considerable. By working closely with a Kansas City auto accident lawyer, an injury victim can pursue damages for medical bills, lost wages and future needs such as adaptive equipment or in-home nursing care.