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Proposed Legislation to Prevent Injury to Children in Cars

Sally Greenberg, Consumers Union, 202-462-6262
Janette Fennell, KIDS ‘N CARS, 415-789-1000


Upon enactment of this legislation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, hereinafter “the agency”) shall:
a) Within 1 year after enactment, complete a study of effective methods for reducing the incidence of child injury and death outside of parked vehicles; NHTSA shall also evaluate currently available technology designed to prevent injury or death to children left unattended inside motor vehicles. The agency shall report the findings of its study to Congress.
b) Establish a database or add to an existing database a means for tracking the number and types of injuries and deaths in nontraffic, non-crash events. Such database shall collect information on the type of vehicle involved in the incident, whether there was an operator in the vehicle involved, the age of the operator, age(s) of victims, whether the vehicle had technology installed to detect objects behind it, and the degree of injury to the victim, and any other data the agency deems necessary.
c) Within 12 months after enactment, complete a “Backover Prevention Technology” study that will identify, evaluate, and compare the available technologies for detecting people or objects behind a motor vehicle for their accuracy, effectiveness, cost, and feasibility for installation in a wide variety of vehicles. The agency shall determine cost savings from widespread use of such devices, including estimating the savings in preventing injuries and fatalities, as well as cost savings from prevention of damage to bumpers and other car parts, and damage to other objects, provided by backover prevention devices.
d) Unless the findings of the Backover Prevention Technology study find no safety benefits or monetary savings to consumers from backover warning and prevention devices, the agency shall establish a performance standard for such devices and require these devices to be installed as standard equipment in sport utility vehicles, trucks, and minivans by MY 2006, followed by passenger cars by MY 2007.
e) Within 12 months after enactment, the agency shall develop a performance standard for power windows to ensure that they do not pose an unreasonable danger to children. That standard shall include ensuring that windows have auto reverse mechanisms and switches that are resistant to inadvertent operation by children
Check out the Kids ‘n Cars Staggering Statistics. (PDF format only)
For more information: www.kidsncars.org