Safety Advocates Question Why It's Taking So Long for Backup Camera Regulations
December 27, 2012 3:29 PM
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Judy Neiman with a picture of her daughter Sydnee
(Source: Yahoo News)
They suspect cost is the driving force
Even though the
regulations for backup cameras
in new vehicles is near, grieving parents and safety advocates want to know what the heck has taken so long.
The rearview camera mandate would make it so every vehicle would have a backup camera for seeing behind the vehicle when in reverse. The idea was triggered by the 300 deaths and 16,000 injuries annually caused by a driver's inability to see behind their vehicle when backing up. Many of the injuries and death affect young children and senior citizens.
Judy Neiman, 53, of West Richland, Washington, is just one of the many people who have experienced a tragic death due to
driving a car in reverse
without properly checking her surroundings before backing up. She accidentally backed over and killed her 9-year-old daughter, Sydnee.
"They have to do something, because I've read about it happening to other people. I read about it and I said, 'I would die if it happens to me,'" said Neiman. "Then it did happen to me."
The White House is doing something about it, but there have been several delays in regulating the use of these cameras. The rearview camera regulations date back to 2007, when Congress initially approved legislation to set these standards by February 28, 2011. This
date was delayed
to February of this year, and again to December 31.
While the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are both behind the making of these new standards, others, namely automakers, have worried that the cost of installing these cameras on each vehicle would drive the price up too high. Parents and safety advocates blame worries regarding cost for the delays in safety.
NHTSA estimated that adding backup cameras to every car would add $58 to $88 to the price of vehicles that have an existing dashboard display screens. It would cost $159 to $203 for those without them.
DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said he is meeting with White House officials to
finalize the regulations
by December 31.
In the meantime, Neiman grieves over her lost child who had survived four open-heart surgeries like a champ, but was eventually killed due to her mistake. She couldn't see her 4-foot tall daughter behind her van when pulling out of the garage.
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12/31/2012 6:58:36 PM
In medicine, we used to deal with safety by assigning responsibility, punishing transgression, and encouraging people to be careful. What we found was that that didn't work very well. We had a great product that was saving lives, but it was also taking lives, and telling people to be more careful didn't impact the frequency with which it did so.
What ended up working? (Well, to the extent that it works, because we still take lives.) Redundancy. Rather than assigning responsibility to individuals or small groups, we asked larger groups to take responsibility for patient safety. What we found is that when more people took responsibility, people still made errors, but those errors didn't lead to bad outcomes like death, because they were caught before they had a chance to.
That's exactly what's going on. No, it wasn't the responsibility of auto-makers to help prevent these kind of deaths. But it is now.
Obviously, any changes like this have to be considered in detail. It's not impossible for redundancy to paradoxically reduce safety. It's not impossible for the cost to outweigh the benefit. But in general, this change in paradigm from "assign responsibility" to "improve outcomes" is responsible for much of what we take for granted in our sweet, modern lives.
"This is from the DailyTech.com. It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh
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