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New rules aim to reduce risk of pedestrian, backover accidents in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is issuing new rules on rear-window visibility in an effort to reduce the risk of pedestrian and backover accidents.

Pedestrian accidents in Fort Lauderdale and backover accidents in Port St. Lucie and throughout South Florida are of increasing concern as we head into the heart of the holidays and the winter tourism season. Florida is among the deadliest states in the nation for pedestrian accidents, while backover accidents are most likely to occur in busy parking lots or at the type of large family gatherings that most often occur around the holidays.

The new rules are mandated by the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007 and are aimed at eliminating blind spots behind vehicles, which can hide pedestrians. Two-year old Cameron Gulbransen was killed when his father accidentally backed over him in the family’s driveway.

“There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The changes we are proposing today will help drivers see into those blind zones directly behind vehicles to make sure it is safe to back up.”

The rules require a driver to be able to see directly behind a vehicle when the vehicle is in reverse. Manufacturers are most likely to comply by installing video cameras in most new vehicles by 2014.

“The steps we are taking today will help reduce back-over fatalities and injuries not only to children, but to the elderly, and other pedestrians,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “And while these changes will make a difference, drivers must remember that no technology can, or should, replace full attention and vigilance when backing up. Always know where your children are before you start your car and make sure you check that there is no one behind you before you back up.”

The government estimates there are 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries involving backover crashes each year. In 2008, more than 4,300 pedestrians were killed in accidents nationwide. Florida pedestrian accidents claimed 490 lives. Only California reported more pedestrian deaths.

Freeman & Mallard is a South Florida personal injury and wrongful death law firm dedicated to helping motorists who have been injured in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and the Port St. Lucie/Fort Pierce areas. Call today for a free consultation. 1-800-529-2368.

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