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Wednesday February 29, 2012 6:02 pm

Can the NHTSA make cars safer with mandatory backup cameras by 2014?

A few nights ago I found myself, along with two of my friends, shooting the breeze at a local watering hole. All of us come from different walks of life and hold different views on politics and social matters; but our love of good food, cars, and company puts all that aside. If you put us together for an extended period of time, one of us is doomed to end up in a hospital because of another, but it’s all fun and games.

Mid-way into the evening, my friend mentioned that he’s in the market for a new pistol. The other guy highly opposes guns. The bartender chimes in with his two cents, stating knifes kill people, cars kill people, and since people die in hospitals, the hospitals must be killing people, too. With these two bickering back and forth, it got me wondering just how many people get injured, or killed, on a yearly basis due to getting his by a car and how that compared to gun fatalities. Recently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a bill that would require all automotive manufacturers to include a backup camera in all vehicles by 2014. However, this wouldn’t come out of the manufacturers pocker, as the expense is passed on to the consumer. It would end up raising the cost of a vehicle by about 200 bucks. It's a small price to pay, and would more than likely save a bunch of lives.

According to the NHTSA, 100 children and 200 adults die each year by drivers not being able to spot them as they back up. Furthermore, 17,000 injuries are reported yearly due to roll-over accidents. According to findthedata.org, over an 8-year period from 1999-2006, there were 5,974 deaths, an average of 757 deaths yearly caused by accidental discharge of a firearm. Going back to the bartender’s argument, cars are at the heels of firearms on the mortality scale. However, these statistics are only focusing on two small niches. This only leaves room for one improvement to be made—the user.

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