Thursday, September 26, 2013

Backing Up Over Your Own Kid: Why Isn't the Federal Government Doing Something About This?

I can see why someone who has backed a car over his own child would feel terribly guilt-ridden about this.  I can see why he might start a movement to increase awareness that you should make sure that your small children are not behind your car before starting it up.  But insisting that the federal government needs to do something about it?  From the September 25, 2013 Houston Chronicle:
Consumer advocates and parents who accidentally backed over their children plan to sue the federal government, forcing it to issue a long-anticipated rule requiring automakers to help drivers see behind their vehicles.
"If it takes this kind of action, that is what we're going to have to do," said Greg Gulbransen, a New York pediatrician who accidentally backed over and killed his son, Cameron, in 2002, and is a plaintiff in the lawsuit expected to be filed Wednesday. "We've tried so hard for so long, and now we're stuck."
What next?  Are people who beat their kids to death while drunk going to demand that the government mandate monitored video cameras in every room of your house?


  1. If it is the government's fault it can't be their fault?

  2. I've had a rental with a rear camera and I've found it to be particularly useless.

    First, there was no peripheral vision on it so you could only see what was directly behind you... And then only if it was tall enough! (I tried using only the camera to back out of my driveway and I ran over our recycling bin, which I would have seen if I had looked behind normally.) So if my daughter walked across the driveway or (more likely) the kid down the street are riding their bikes on the road and ignoring traffic, it would offer no help.

    Second, it was useless when it started to get dark. I'm not talking about pitch black, but when the sun is setting and the summer heat is breaking making it a lot more enjoyable to play in the grass. That's the time I'm worried about because that is when all the children come out to play.

    The problem that I see is (aside from the nanny state-ism) that too many people would default to just using the cameras, ignoring their blind spots. The camera may be feel-good, but it's not a magic bullet to the issue. I can see that such a system may actually increase the threat of backing over a child, instead of reducing such a threat. But how would you go about researching such an issue?

  3. This sort of thing causes me anger that is so hot it completely erases any sympathy I might have had for the goofs that have lost their child in this freak accident.

    Yes, I said goof and I said freak accident.

    According to the article, this happens to about 200 kids per year. Every death like this is a tragedy, but they have lost all sense of proportion. 200 deaths per year is a miniscule amount in the context of a country the size of the US. Yet they have no problem mandating a huge additional cost to the price of a car. The pediatrician - who so prominently wears his stethoscope around his neck like a badge of honor, yet was careless enough to back his car up without first checking - has no problem with the additional cost. (He probably drives a Mercedes.) But what about Joe and Jane Doe who can barely afford the cost of a new car.

    I. Hate. Safety. Nazis.

  4. So how many kids have been getting backed over in the past? Is this a growing problem? Was it better when people drove low-slung land yachts instead of SUVs? Or are cell phones to blame? Or is it getting better with time?