The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a final decision indicating that it will update the U.S. New Car Assessment Program with recommendations to consumers about those “vehicle models that have rearview video systems that the agency believes (based on currently available data) will decrease the risk of backover crashes.” NHTSA’s determination to do so preceded by one day the filing of a petition in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for a writ of mandamus to declare that the Department of Transportation (DOT) has unreasonably delayed issuing a backover rule as required under the Gulbransen Act. One of the petitioners, Greg Gulbransen, is a pediatrician who lost his 2-year-old son in a backover crash in 2002; he was driving the car that struck the child and could not see him with existing mirrors and even looking over his shoulder. He advocated for the law, enacted in 2008, that bears his name and required DOT to issue within three years a final rule that would “expand the required field of vision to enable drivers of motor vehicles to see better behind their vehicles.” See Federal Register, September 30, 2013.
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