Washington, D.C. – The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has held a public hearing on proposed safety measures to help eliminate blind zones behind vehicles.

NHTSA administrator David Strickland heard from industry leaders, public interest groups and victims on the government proposals, which aim to eliminate blind zones behind vehicles that can hide pedestrians, especially young children and the elderly.

“Every year, nearly 300 people are killed and over 18,000 more are injured when someone, often a parent or grandparent, backs over them,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “To put an end to these tragedies, we have proposed a new safety rule and are seeking further public feedback.”

Last December, NHTSA proposed a rearview visibility safety regulation to reduce “back-over” fatalities and injuries. The proposed rule was required by Congress as part of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007, named for two-year-old Cameron Gulbransen, who was killed when his father backed over him in a driveway.

Strickland noted that the goal of the hearing was to provide an opportunity for interested parties to present their views directly, including discussions of countermeasures the agency is currently proposing. “Safety is our top priority and the steps we are proposing, with the public’s help and input, will reduce back-over fatalities and injuries not only to children, but to the elderly and other pedestrians,” he said.

The proposal can be viewed at NHTSA. The agency intends to issue a final rule by the end of 2011.

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