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John Bisnar
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Automotive Child Safety Regulations Proposed

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Bill addresses a continuing source of child deaths and injuries.

Lawmakers and safety advocates in Washington called for new safety upgrades Tuesday that would require rear view cameras for drivers and power windows that automatically reverse as a way to protect young children around vehicles.

According to an Associated Press news report posted on the Kansas City Star’s Web site, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined legislation that would mandate new automotive child safety equipment on new vehicles.

“None of us wants to – as we each have done – meet with another family who has lost a child, in what is clearly a preventable death,” she said.

Named the Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act, the measure is named in memory of a 2-year-old New York boy who was accidentally run over and killed by his father three years ago, as he backed out his sport utility vehicle.

Kids and Cars, a Kansas-based group that is supporting the bill, estimated that about two children are killed and 48 injured every week because of similar accidents. In most cases, family members are behind the wheel.

This is not the first time, however, that such a measure is being introduced. It has been introduced and has failed in the past.

Under the measure, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would require the equipment alerting drivers to children and other objects behind the vehicle thereby preventing the vehicle from rolling when parked.

The vehicle would have power windows reverse direction to address the issue of some children who have been strangled to death. In these cases, the power windows would automatically change direction when they detect an object in their path. The cameras would provide a view of the space behind the bumper, which is often impossible to see through a rear-view mirror.

According to the proposed measure, NHTSA would also be required to improve its collection of data involving “non-traffic, non-crash injuries” involving children. The federal safety agency has estimated that back-over accidents lead to 183 deaths annually and about 7,400 injuries.

These upgrades will definitely help keep our children safer. Any fatality involving a child is heart-breaking, but back-over accidents are almost like a double-tragedy because it usually involves family members – most likely mom or dad, who carry that guilt for the rest of their lives.

Come on Congress and NHTSA, this should be a no-brainer. Who could be against this bill and why?