Lawmakers in Washington give final approval to the Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act, a piece of legislation that could require auto makers to install auto-reverse mechanisms on power windows and panels.
The legislation, which also addresses standards for back-over detection systems and brakeshift interlocks, passed through the House last year and it now has gained Senate approval. It heads next to President Bush, who is expected to sign it into law.
“This legislation represents a critical step in protecting motor vehicle passengers, particularly young children,” U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) says in a statement.
The legislation directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin. to begin rulemaking on the need for auto-reverse mechanisms on power windows and panels, which would prevent a child from becoming trapped, hurt or even killed by automatic windows.
NHTSA must determine whether such a requirement would be reasonable, practical and appropriate. Should NHTSA find a standard unnecessary, it must provide evidence to Congress.
The legislation additionally orders NHTSA to establish a standard that would require auto makers to install technology, such as mirrors, sensor devices or cameras, to alert drivers of a rearward obstruction. It also requires a service brake be engaged in all gear positions to prevent passengers from shifting out of “park,” allowing the vehicle to inadvertently roll away.
The legislation also establishes a database of injuries and deaths from non-traffic, non-crash events and a program to disseminate child-safety information.
Since 1999, more than 1,000 children have been killed in non-traffic, non-crash events, with 46% of deaths caused by the victim being backed over by a vehicle, according to NHTSA. Another 24% of deaths were blamed on hyperthermia; 13% from a child placing the vehicle in motion; and 3% from strangulation by a power accessory, such as a window.
The legislation, which auto makers supported, is named after Cameron Gulbransen, a 2-year-old boy killed in 2002 when his father accidentally backed over him with the family’s SUV.