More than 70,000 individuals are injured in pedestrian car accidents throughout the United States each year. That equates to one pedestrian injury every 8 minutes. Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a final regulatory decision related to pedestrian safety, which will require all auto manufacturers producing vehicles weighing less than 10,000 lbs. to equip their vehicles with rear visibility technology by May of 2018. This regulatory rule will affect everything from smaller sedans and mid-sized SUVs, to buses, trucks, and other large vehicles. (Center for Disease Control & Prevention; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Many believe that this new rule is a significant step toward enhancing the safety of automobiles, citing that rear visibility technology will be a particularly valuable tool for reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries in pedestrian car accidents, such as ‘back over accidents’. A back over accident occurs when a vehicle reverses, striking a pedestrian, but the driver is unaware that any accident has occurred. Because of this, the driver continues to reverse, backing over the pedestrian. According the statistics collected from the NHTSA, an average of 210 pedestrian fatalities and 15,000 injuries are caused by back over accidents each year. Analysis of the same data found that children under the age of 5 accounted for nearly 1/3rd of all back over fatalities, and additionally, that adults over the age of 70 constituted more than 1/4th of the fatalities.
In addressing this problem, the NHTSA reported that they took the necessary time to ensure that this policy would be both flexible and achievable. Rear visibility technology will expand millions of drivers’ fields of view, allowing them to be more aware of the area behind their vehicle. The NHTSA has stipulated that this field of view must cover a 10-foot by 20-foot area directly behind the vehicle, and that the systems are also required to meet other standards, such as image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation. Including vehicles that already have these systems installed, the Agency estimates that anywhere from 58 to 69 lives will be saved each year once all of the required vehicles are equipped with this technology.
Our firm knows how devastating pedestrian accidents can be. Our Chicago car accident lawyers represented a 5-year-old boy who had been run over by a City of Chicago Fire truck while playing near an open fire hydrant on the Fourth of July; an accident, which resulted in the loss of his leg and half of his pelvis. Our attorneys were able to recover a $10 million settlement for our client and his family, ensuring that his medical bills and future expenses would be covered.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a pedestrian car accident, you may be entitled to compensation as well. If you think you may have a case, call us now for a free consultation to explore your legal options.