Safety Groups Demand Action on Backup-Camera Rule

The U.S. Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion is two-and-a-half years over­due in issu­ing a man­date for rear vis­i­bil­i­ty cam­eras, and advo­ca­cy groups want it passed now.

Find out more about a rul­ing that could save hun­dreds of lives annu­al­ly.

Three advo­ca­cy groups and two par­ents who acci­den­tal­ly backed over their chil­dren are ask­ing a court to force the U.S. Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment to issue a long-delayed in new cars.

The depart­ment is 2 1/2 years over­due in issu­ing one of the most expen­sive pend­ing rules iden­ti­fied by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s admin­is­tra­tion, with costs to automak­ers esti­mat­ed at as much as $2.7 bil­lion.

“In light of the extent of the delay, the repeat­ed self-grant­ed exten­sions, and the hun­dreds of pre­ventable deaths and thou­sands of pre­ventable injuries that will occur while the pub­lic waits for the final rule, this court should let [the] agency know, in no uncer­tain terms, that enough is enough,” the groups said in the peti­tion, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg.

Wash­ing­ton-based Advo­cates for High­way and Auto Safe­ty, Kids and Cars Inc., based in Kansas City, Mis­souri, and Yonkers, New York-based Con­sumers Union said they will peti­tion the U.S. Court of Appeals in Man­hat­tan today, ask­ing for action with­in 90 days.

The Nation­al High­way Traf­fic Safe­ty Admin­is­tra­tion, part of the Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment, issued a pro­posed rule in 2010.

“DOT should issue the rule requir­ing rear vis­i­bil­i­ty cam­eras as the Con­gress request­ed four years ago to save the lives of very small chil­dren and old­er Amer­i­cans, and to make sure all Amer­i­cans have these cam­eras on their new vehi­cles,” said Joan Clay­brook, pres­i­dent emer­i­tus of Pub­lic Cit­i­zen, a Wash­ing­ton-based advo­ca­cy group. “Our law­suit is essen­tial to get the agency to do its job.”

Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Antho­ny Foxx said yes­ter­day in an e-mail that the depart­ment still plans to issue the rule.

Foxx’s pre­de­ces­sor, Ray LaHood, in June told law­mak­ers the depart­ment was delay­ing the rule for a fourth time and set­ting a self-imposed new dead­line of Jan. 2, 2015. A 2008 law requir­ing rear-view vis­i­bil­i­ty improve­ments set Feb. 28, 2011, as the dead­line to pub­lish a final rule.

NHTSA has said an aver­age of 292 peo­ple — pri­mar­i­ly chil­dren and the elder­ly — die each year in back­over acci­dents and half those deaths could be pre­vent­ed by requir­ing cam­eras.

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