The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007, dubbed the "Kids And Cars bill" was signed into law today. This new law will reduce deaths and injuries to children in backovers, runaway cars and power window incidents.
"Most people do not yet understand the importance and magnitude of this new law" said Janette Fennell founder and president of the child nonprofit safety organization KIDS AND CARS. "There never has been a rear visibility standard for what drivers should be able to see when backing their vehicles. Blind zones behind vehicles can range anywhere from approximately eight feet to over 60 feet. We certainly wouldn't purchase vehicles if we couldn't see 20-30 feet going forward; but we have been backing up blindly for decades" she added.
This bill had strong bipartisan support in Congress and was passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. (there were 36 Senate sponsors and 43 House sponsors). Additionally, this new law is supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation, auto manufacturers, as well as major consumer, health and safety organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), Consumers Union, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and the Consumer Federation of America. The bill directs the U.S. DOT to take action to correct problems that threaten the life of small children in and around motor vehicles. When fully implemented it is expected that the legislation annually will save thousands of young children from death and injury.
The legislation is named after the two-year old son of Dr. Greg Gulbransen, a pediatrician. Dr. Gulbransen tragically backed over his son, Cameron, because of a blind zone in the rear of his vehicle. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) learned about this tragedy in New York and developed legislation and 2003. The House Democratic sponsor was Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). A companion bill was sponsored by Sen. John Sununu (R-NH) because of a constituent whose child was tragically killed as a result of vehicle rollaway. The Democratic sponsor in the Senate was Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) who worked with Rep. Peter King.
KIDS AND CARS has been working in Congress to pass this bill for over 5 years and represents over a hundred families whose children have been killed or injured in and around vehicles. Many of these families invested their own time and money by traveling to Washington, DC, participating in press events and wrote letters to Members of Congress requesting their support and sponsorship to make vehicles safer for children. In most cases these families lost a child due to being backed over, strangled by a power window or were killed after knocking a vehicle into gear and setting the vehicle into motion.
"This is an incredibly positive story about how Congress worked together in a bipartisan manner with industry, regulators, parents and safety organizations to advance public health and safety" said Ms. Fennell.
"We are hopeful that this new law will bring some small relief to the parents who have lost a child in this manner. Through their efforts they will help to prevent another family from experiencing the grief of losing a child in such a predictable and preventable manner," continued Ms. Fennell.