July 19, 2006

Thump Thump: Safe Kids Backs Over Some Facts

GM-Chevrolet is one of the founding sponsors of Safe Kids Worldwide, contributing over $25 million, and showing "their dedication to Safe Kids by promoting children's safety in a unique and effective way."

One of those unique ways: getting folks to lighten up with all the safe safe talk, alright? Sheesh.

Consumer's Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, is promoting legislation that would require automakers add safeguards to reduce "non-traffic" accidents and fatalities involving children, specifically: auto-recoil to prevent power window strangulation, and rear sensors or cameras to stop kids from getting backed over. [No one collects comprehensive data on it, but it looks like at least 200 kids a year die from non-traffic car accidents. Half get backed over.] The Chevy Avalanche gets namechecked as having the biggest blindspot--51 feet "for a short driver"--of any vehicle they tested.

In response, Safe Kids put out a media alert about how all cars currently come equipped with a door so that parents/drivers can do a walkaround before driving off, and that a new "Spot the Tot" campaign will be rolling out this summer. The alert includes this:

It is our understanding that many technologies are expensive and could add significant expense to a new car. Safe Kids Worldwide is not inherently against new technology, but we want to know the facts before making any decision about proposed legislation...
Presumably, one of those facts is that GM is a top sponsor, but I guess there's a bit of a blind spot.

Simple fixes will end child backover, auto window strangulations [consumersunion.org]
Safe Kids Worldwide Response to Consumer's Union Petition [safekids.org via dt reader george]

1 Comment

Despite the fact that they charge a few hundred bucks to add it to your car (safety sells), the hardware cost for a backup camera is probably less than $20 on a car that already has a video display (you're basically adding a webcam and a couple wires). On cars without one, you could use sonar for about the same cost. Power window reveral systems are essentially free- you just need a little bit of electronic logic in the circuit.

GM, of course, is the same company that once opposed seatbelts, and continues to claim that raising fuel economy standards will kill thousands of people. They are also the same company that will be bankrupt by the end of the decade.

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