In December we reported that a Transportation for America report concluded that Florida cities are among the most dangerous in America for pedestrians. Although some of the cities in Florida are working towards improving accessibility of sidewalks and walking paths, the risks still remain high for pedestrians. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has an idea to limit at least one type of pedestrian accidents — back-over accidents — by requiring vehicle manufacturers to install rearview cameras on new vehicles.
The NHTSA initially proposed the regulations at the end of 2010 to expand the field of view for all passenger cars, so that drivers can see directly behind the vehicle when in reverse. Last week, however, the NHTSA postponed ruling on the mandatory requirements, saying it needs to conduct “further study and data analysis.”
The regulation, known as the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act, was named for a child who was killed by his father as he was backing out of his driveway, not realizing the two-year-old boy was playing behind the vehicle. The ruling would be beneficial in protecting the lives of children, the elderly, as well as hearing and sight impaired pedestrians.
At the time of the initial announcement, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, “The steps we are taking today will help reduce back-over fatalities and injuries not only to children, but to the elderly, and other pedestrians.”
According to CNNMoney, the NHTSA has now postponed releasing details of the mandate until late this year.
“The department remains committed to improving rearview visibility for the nation’s fleet and we expect to complete our work and issue a final rule by Dec. 31, 2012,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement issued last week.
The proposal would have required rearview back-up cameras in all new cars, pickups and SUVs by 2014.
The NHTSA estimates nearly 300 people die and 18,000 are injured each year as a result of back-over crashes involving all vehicles. In Florida in 2010, 499 pedestrians died and 7,290 were injured after being struck by vehicles.
Over 17 percent of Florida residents are over the age of 65. That compares to 13 percent nationally. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida has the highest percentage of senior residents. Nearly a quarter of Palm Beach County residents are over 65.
Unfortunately, 22 percent of pedestrian deaths in Florida from 2000 through 2009 were adults 65 years and older. Research has found that older adults are 96 percent more likely to be killed while walking than those under 65 years of age.
Our Florida accident attorneys urge Treasure Coast drivers to please stay alert and pay special attention for pedestrians when backing out of your driveway and from parking spots. We also encourage the government agencies to continue to analyze data and ensure the appropriate rulings are made to improve the safety of all Florida residents and visitors.
About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney
The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida and the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm’s practice areas include car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, dog bite injuries, slip and fall injuries, swimming pool accidents and wrongful death claims.
Our law firm represents victims of car accidents across South Florida, including Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Palm Beach and Vero Beach and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast. Call 1-800-299-8878 now to speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.