It’s been years since “baby on board” signs were popular. Today, with the advance of technology, there are now many more – and more effective – ways to protect children when they are in or around cars.
Yet children still remain far too vulnerable to injuries and wrongful death in car accidents. According to federal data, over 3000 children between the ages of 4 and 8 died in car accidents in the last decade. There are also another 100 children a year under the age of 5 who are killed every year in back-up accidents – run over by drivers who were backing up and didn’t see them in time.
Multiple initiatives are underway to bring down these numbers. One is a push by the National Transportation Safety Board to make child passenger safety a legislative priority for 2011. Another is a proposal by the National Highway Traffic Administration to require all new vehicles to have back-up cameras so that drivers have better visibility when backing up.
Car Seat Laws
The NTSB will be encouraging states to adopt child car seat laws for all children under age 8. The agency has been calling for all legislatures to enact this legislation since 1997. Fortunately, Illinois has been a leader on this issue, and has required child car seats for children under age 8 since 2004.
Still, requiring child car seats and actually using them can be two different things. According to NTSB’s data, about 45 percent of the children who died in car accidents from 2000 to 2009 did not have a proper seat belt or car seat. Most of those who were restrained were in a seat belt designed for adults, instead of a properly-fitting safety seat or booster seat.
The NHTSA proposal to require new cars to have back-up cameras would be phased in over time. The agency’s timetable calls for full compliance by September 2014.
The authority for the proposed regulation comes from a law passed by Congress in 2007. The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007 called upon NHTSA to come up with a regulation to improve rear visibility in order to prevent back-up accidents.
If you child was injured or killed in a Chicago car accident, contact Horwitz Law Group to discuss your legal options.