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Dept. of Transportation delays Rear-Visibility Rule

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Consumers Union Statement on Department of Transportation Decision to Delay Rear-Visibility Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ami Gadhia, the Senior Policy Counsel for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, made the following statement today about the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)’s decision to postpone a final rule by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to improve rear visibility in vehicles:
“We have long championed a rule to improve visibility in and around cars. We’re disappointed the government did not take final action today to address this problem, but we understand they are still on a path forward to issuing a rule this year. We hope that day comes as soon as possible so that rear visibility for all vehicles is improved and needless deaths and injuries are reduced.
“Every vehicle has a blind zone immediately behind the rear bumper. It can be five feet or 50 feet, depending on the car’s styling. Lost in that space might be a fire hydrant, a pet, or even a child. Every year, children are injured and killed because drivers don’t see them while backing up. In 70 percent of these cases, the driver is the parent or relative of the child.
“Even a small blind zone of just a few feet can be big enough for a child to dart behind a vehicle, unseen by the driver. That’s a tragedy waiting to happen. The best way to prevent this tragedy is a rearview camera system with a video screen and an obstruction sensor. Together these features make a big difference in helping drivers know what’s behind them before they back up.”

Media contact: David Butler or Kara Kelber, 202-462-6262