NHTSA Increases Efforts to Prevent Child Deaths in Hot Cars

It is that time of year again when temperatures rise and we hear stories of children left in cars to die of hyperthermia. It was an unfortunate reality in 21 child deaths already reported this summer, many of the cases occurring in Florida, Texas, Nevada, North Carolina, and California.

To combat the problem and find solutions, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), convened a roundtable of NHTSA experts along with representatives from consumer groups, safety advocates, car seat manufacturers and automotive representatives to find some real workable strategies to combat child fatalities in hot cars, the leading cause of non-crash deaths for children under the age of 14. San Francisco State University’s Department of Geosciences found 49 children under the age of 14 years died in 2010 due to hyperthermia.

Expect to see informational campaigns coordinated with the states and parent’s groups. The advocacy group Kids and Cars has taken a leading role in monitoring all sorts of hazards children encounter with motor vehicles, including being hit when a large vehicle backs out of the driveway and over the blind spot where the child is standing.

Earlier this year, USAToday reported that the federal government delayed implementing a rule requiring backup cameras on most cars and trucks. NHTSA asked for an additional 45 days to collect comments. The holdup is the cost to the auto industry at about $2 to $3 billion a year. The plan required all new vehicles produced by September 2014 to have backup cameras to allow the driver to see if any little person or pet was behind the vehicle. However, according to AutoGuide, the planned implementation has been delayed.

The rule would require the blind spot behind a vehicle – about 20 feet behind and10 feet wide – be visible to the driver. The proposal was agreed to by Congress in 2007 after the death of a toddler whose father accidentally backed over him in the driveway. Currently only about 20 percent of new vehicles have backup cameras.

NHTSA estimates about 18,000 are injured and 300 people are killed in backup accidents every year. The new rule, whenever it’s implemented, is expected to save about 95 to 112 deaths and 7,000 injuries every year.

Bottom line – the personal injury attorneys in Jacksonville at Farah & Farah encourages you to never leave a child unattended around or in a motor vehicle.

Sources: http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2011/NHTSA+Steps+Up+Efforts+to+Prevent+Child+Deaths+in+Hot+Cars, www.nhtsa.gov/KeepingKidsSafe, http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811116.PDF and http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/02/plan-to-make-back-up-cameras-mandatory-by-2014-delayed.html