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Feds fail to implement car safety mandate for backup accidents

When a person is in a hurry, he or she may not take the time necessary to ensure that the area around their vehicle is entirely clear before taking off. In this situation, serious auto accidents can happen. According to statistics from the federal Department of Transportation, 228 people died as the result of a vehicle backing up in 2010. Among those who died, 44 percent were younger than 5 years old.

Because children are at a particular risk of being involved in these accidents, lawmakers took action. In 2007, U.S. Congress passed a law that required vehicles produced for the 2014 model year to have built-in safety measures to prevent backup accidents. Unfortunately, however, the Transportation Department has yet to create these standards for auto manufacturers.

As a result of this failure to take action, a number of families filed a lawsuit with the aim of moving the regulations forward. According to USA Today, the Department of Transportation was supposed to outline the requirements by 2011, but still haven't done that over two years after the deadline has passed.

The idea behind the mandate was to include sensors or video cameras in every car and SUV, which would allow drivers to see if they are in danger of hitting anything when they are in reverse. Some vehicles include this feature, but there is no guarantee that this protection will be in place.

Ultimately, drivers have a responsibility to operate their vehicle with caution. Failing to take notice of a person behind a vehicle could be construed as negligence. Knowing this, victims of backup accidents may be able to recover losses related to the incident.

Source: USA Today, "Administration sued over backup camera delay," Fred Meier and Chris Woodyard, Sept. 26, 2013

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