New government rules could reduce risk of Chicago pedestrian accidents involving children, the elderly

The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced new rear-window visibility rules aimed at reducing the risk of pedestrian accidents in Chicago and elsewhere, particularly those involving young children or the elderly.

Our Chicago injury lawyers frequently report on the dangers of pedestrian accidents in the city. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 4,300 people died in pedestrian accidents in 2008 and 69,000 were injured.Illinois pedestrian accidents claimed 135 lives — 52 of those in Chicago. The Illinois Department of Transportation reports another 3,379 people were injured in Chicago pedestrian accidents in 2008.

“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.”

In 2008, a total of 270 children under the age of 14 died in pedestrian accidents, accounting for about 1 in 5 fatalities for the age group. Pedestrian accidents claimed more than 800 people over the age of 65.

The new government regulations would expand the field of vision for all passenger cars, pickups, minivans and buses. Manufacturers would likely achieve compliance by installing backup cameras and in-car monitors in all 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 nearly 300 deaths and 18,000 injuries occur each year as a result of backover accidents. About half of those crashes involve children under the age of 5, while one-third involve an elderly adult over the age of 70.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS.

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