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Why the government is being sued over backup camera timeline

When Congress passed a 2007 act aimed at preventing back-over injuries and fatalities, it mandated that the Department of Transportation (DOT) have a rule in place requiring back-over prevention equipment in all new cars and light trucks by 2011 at the latest. As we near the end of 2013, no such rule has been definitively created, let alone put in place.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 220 individuals are killed annually in back-over car accidents and light truck accidents. In addition, thousands more suffer injuries as a result of these kinds of accidents. The NHTSA has identified the populations most vulnerable to injury and death in back-over accidents as children under the age of five and adults over the age of 70.

By mandating that manufacturers equip all new vehicles with warning devices such as rear-view cameras, the DOT could save hundreds of lives and impact thousands more each year. However, the agency has insisted on delay after delay of new regulation related to this issue.

Some concerned individuals have waited long enough. A lawsuit was filed recently in the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York in an effort to compel the DOT to act in accordance with the 2007 act's Congressional mandate. The claim was filed by numerous concerned parents and car-safety advocates. Only time will tell whether the suit itself will be successful. In the meantime, it is bringing much needed attention back to a pressing safety issue that disproportionately affects already-vulnerable populations within American society.

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

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