Is this a further driving distraction?

As reported on CNN Money and most news outlets, the Transportaion Department will mandate backup cameras on most passenger vehicles by 2014.  The Secretary of Transportation has announced new mandates that are based on a 2008 law.  The facts used to convince Congress to pass the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act in early 2008 included:

Over 200 deaths each year caused by “back-over” accidents;

Over 44% of those deaths were under the age of 5, and 33% are over the age of 70;

As many as 18,000 injuries occur annually in the U.S. due to accidents while autos are moving in reverse.

Two hundred deaths is a tragic result.  Is it reason, however, to mandate an increase in the manufacturing cost of every automobile and most trucks by about $200 each?

About 700 cyclists die each year in on-road accidents.  Over 50,000 are injured.  According to helmets.org, over 90% of bicycle deaths were victims not wearing a helmet.  Are bicycle manufacturers mandated to ship helmets and other safety systems with each bike?

Boating accidents result in about 700 deaths each year and about 4,000 injuries.  Is it the boat manufacturer that is mandated to provide life vests?

Somewhere between 25 and 200 children die annually in School Bus accidents, but good luck finding statistics to ferret out the exact numbers.  The NHTSA , school districts, and State transportation agencies all report based on different criteria.  If a school bus is transporting kids to extra-curricular activities, those statistics are rarely counted.  It is estimated that half the “School Bus” deaths could be avoided each year if school busses had, and children used, seat belts.  Why no mandate here?

The NHTSA has an almost $900 million budget.  I’m sure lots of the research they do is very valuable and ends up saving many lives.  I just continue to be concerned when our government has a blank checkbook for all things warm and fuzzy and these things end up causing more regulation and less freedom.

Is this another case of good intentions gone bad in the hands of government regulators?

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