Not so long ago, rearview cameras were a luxury add-on for high-end vehicles, and not long before that they were entirely unheard of. Today, however, it is common for new passenger vehicles to be equipped with this potentially lifesaving technology, and in the years to come it will become mandatory nationwide. New federal regulations will require backup cameras in all new cars, minivans, SUVs and some light trucks by May 2018.
According to the nonprofit safety organization KidsAndCars.org, U.S. emergency rooms treat nearly 50 injured children every week due to backover accidents, and an average of two children per week die as a result of their injuries. In Illinois alone, 27 children were killed in backup accidents between 1990 and 2012, and hundreds more suffered serious nonfatal injuries. A vast majority of the children injured or killed in backup car accidents are under the age of five, although older kids and adults - particularly the elderly - are also affected.
Danger zone extends up to 50 feet behind vehicles
Backup accidents typically occur when a driver is backing out of a driveway or parking space and either cannot see or does not notice that there is someone in the vehicle's path. Accidents of this type are particularly common in larger vehicles such as SUVs, minivans and trucks, as they typically have larger blind zones that are not visible from standard rearview mirrors - in some cases extending as far as 50 feet behind the vehicle.
According to estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency that issued the new mandatory backup camera regulation, the measure will save approximately 58 to 69 lives each year and prevent many more nonfatal injuries. Many automakers have already begun offering rearview camera systems, either as a standard feature or an optional add-on, and the NHTSA predicts that nearly three out of four new vehicles will already be equipped with cameras on a voluntary basis by the time the 2018 deadline goes into effect.
Protecting the interests of injured children
If your child has been hurt in a car accident, there may be financial compensation available to help offset the cost of medical care, rehabilitation and other expenses that are necessary to help him or her make the best possible recovery. Contact the experienced child injury lawyers at Seidman Margulis & Fairman, LLP, to learn more about the legal options that are available to help you protect your child's legal rights and long-term interests after a serious injury.