Congress Urged to Pass Child Car Safety Act

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Safety is of utmost importance in any field. This is very true even in the automotive industry. In fact, the safety of a car is one of the more critical aspects of a car being looked into by motorists in buying a vehicle. Safety for children is the issue that is given the most attention when it comes to car safety. Primarily, this has been triggered by the fact that the number of child fatalities in car related accidents is alarmingly high. This is the reason why government and private sectors have been doing their share in the intensification of child car safety.

KIDS AND CARS recently issued an advisory to urge the Congress to pass the Cameron Gulbransen KIDS AND CARS Safety Act of 2007. Among the supporters of the bill are Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and John Sununu (R-NH); Janette Fennell, the President of KIDS AND CARS; Jackie Gillan, the Vice President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety; Sally Greenberg, a Senior Counsel for Consumers Union; and the families of child victims in vehicle related accidents.

They are calling upon the US Congress to pass the bill that will reduce the risk of injuries and death of children who are in and around a vehicle. The group presents a study that shows that from the year 2000 until now, there are more than 1,000 recorded child fatalities in non-traffic accidents only. This means that the death of those children happened not because of a crash or collision but because of other circumstances that the bill is trying to eradicate. Common problems that the bill is addressing is the risk of a child being backed over by a vehicle, power windows strangulation, or those deaths that have been caused by accidentally knocking a vehicle into motion.

The bill contains what the authors want the US Secretary of Transportation should implement on vehicles to be released to the public. Senators Clinton and Sununu both sponsored this bill to reduce the risk of injuries or even death to children in and around vehicles. One of the provisions of the bill is for the US Secretary of Transportation to mandate car makers to "ensure that power windows automatically reverse when they detect an obstruction to prevent children from being trapped, injured, or killed". This technology is already being used on some tailgates of SUVs and also employed by convertibles when stowing the top or putting it back over the vehicle.

The bill when passed into law will also mandate car manufacturers to "provide drivers with a means of detecting the presence of a person or object behind their vehicle". This is also being used by some vehicle models. This not only makes parking easier, it also reduces the risk of baking over a child or any person for that matter. Another provision is for car makers to "provide for the vehicle service brake to be engaged to prevent vehicles from unintentionally rolling away". This is also a good step since there are cases that the cause of death or injury of a child is due to the accidental rolling of the vehicle. This safety precaution can be further enhanced with the use of .

The bill also calls for the establishment of "a child safety information program to collect non-traffic incident data and disseminate information to parents about these hazards and ways to mitigate them". This is aimed to show the trends of child injuries and fatalities so that steps can be taken to address whatever may be the cause of such incidents.

Aside from the aforementioned bill, another one will be introduced in the US House of Representatives by Representative Peter King (R-NY) and Representative Janice Schakowsky (D-IL).

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