House panel urged to make cars safer for kids

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Consumers Union Urges House Committee to Ensure the Safety of Children In and Around Cars

WASHINGTON, DC – Consumers Union, nonprofit publishers of Consumer Reports, today urged members of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection to adopt standards making vehicles safer for children in and around cars and to address additional vehicle safety measures. The subcommittee is holding a hearing on reauthorization for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
In a letter to subcommittee members, CU asked them to support provisions in the House or Senate transportation bills that call for a study on the danger to children from being backed over, requiring power window safety switches that are designed to minimize hazards to children, and calling for NHTSA to track injuries and deaths that occur in driveways or parking lots that do not currently get into the database.
In addition, CU asked subcommittee members to support legislation, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), who is ranking chair on the subcommittee, and Congressman Peter King (R-NY), that would include the following provisions:
• Require all cars be equipped with technology allowing drivers to see whom or what is behind them, particularly in their blindzones;
• Require power windows come equipped with auto reverse sensors to prevent strangulation; and
• Remind drivers if a child remains in the back seat of the vehicle.
Since the beginning of this year, more than 50 children were backed over and killed, many by parents or family members in their own driveways. In 2004, more than 100 children were backed over and killed. Congress and NHTSA need to work quickly to have performance standards that dictate what drivers should be able to see when backing their vehicles.
CU also asked the subcommittee to support provisions in the Senate bill on vehicle rollover prevention, side impact crash protection, occupant ejection prevention, roof crush, 15-passenger van safety, and child safety measures.
To read the letter to the committee click here.