(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) today commended the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for finally issuing new regulations requiring rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018. The new regulations attempt to prevent deadly back over accidents by requiring visibility systems that will enable drivers to view a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind a vehicle.
Congress mandated that the Department of Transportation issue such a standard in 2007, and gave the agency until 2011 to do so. DOT earlier this year had suggested it would need until 2015 to complete research “to ensure the most protective and efficient rule possible.” Blumenthal had called on the DOT to expedite issuance of the life-saving regulation. On average, 15,000 people – many of them children – are injured annually due to back-over accidents, and 210 people are killed.
As then-chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights and Agency Action, Blumenthal held a hearing on the unconscionable delay in issuance of the rear visibility regulations, as well as other long-stalled rules to protect workers and children.
“This rule has been a long time coming—in fact unconscionably and illegally long-- and will save thousands of lives by putting an end to the needless and preventable tragedies that occur every year when drivers accidentally back over loved ones or pets. On average, there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by back over crashes – close to a third are children under the age of five.
I commend Secretary Foxx, Administrator Friedman and the Department of Transportation for finalizing this rule and making children, drivers and consumers across America safer as a result. I would also like to challenge the auto industry to beat the 2018 deadline set out in this rule by following Honda’s lead to standardize rear-view cameras in all of their vehicles in the next year,” Blumenthal said.