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Clinton Hails Final Passage Of Kids And Cars Safety Legislation; Meets With Affected Ohio Family

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American Government

Clinton Hails Final Passage Of Kids And Cars Safety Legislation; Meets With Affected Ohio Family

Senator Hillary Clinton
February 15, 2008

Landmark Legislation Protects Ohio Children

Senator Hillary Clinton today hailed final Congressional approval of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act, legislation sponsored by Senator Clinton and Congressman John Dingell and cosponsored by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown to protect children from injury in and around motor vehicles. Since 2001, at least 41 Ohio children have suffered fatal non-traffic vehicle accidents and nearly every other day in the United States, a child faces a similar fate. The bipartisan legislation ensures that cars in the United States are properly equipped with safety technology to prevent unintentional harm to children, promising safer cars and safer children across the country. Having been approved by both chambers of Congress, the bill now goes to the President's desk to be signed into law.

At an event in Cincinnati this morning, Hillary met with Steve and Shannon Campbell, who tragically lost their son Drew in a fatal non traffic vehicle accident seven years ago. The Campbells have been outspoken advocates raising awareness and promoting legislation to prevent future incidents. Whether it is hosting an annual Easter egg hunt in Drew's name or sponsoring billboards across Cincinnati, the Campbells continue to be community leaders on this vital issue. Senator Clinton thanked them for their courage and perseverance in the face of tremendous adversity. The Campbells celebrated Congress' approval, finding comfort in knowing that their tireless efforts will result in a reduction of these heartrending accidents.

"Yesterday's passage marks a long-awaited victory for children, families and safety advocates and provides a real step forward for children's safety. Unfortunately, families in Ohio like the Campbells and across the Unites States, have been stricken with unfathomable losses due to preventable auto accidents," Senator Clinton said. "I am honored to have championed the Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act in the Senate, named in remembrance of a two-year-old Long Island boy who was killed when he wandered behind the SUV as his father was backing into their driveway. I want to thank all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who joined me in supporting this important measure; together we have shown that by working hard and finding common ground, we can produce legislation that will make a real difference in the lives of Americans. I urge the President to quickly sign this bill into law and help make all our children safer."

Since 2001, 41 Ohio children have been killed and many more injured in non-traffic incidents - backed-over by a driver who couldn't see behind his or her vehicle, strangled in a power window, or killed when an automobile inadvertently shifts into gear. On average, a child dies in the United States nearly every other day from these accidents and the average age of victims is between 12 and 23 months. In 70 percent of cases, a parent, relative or close friend is behind the wheel. According to the child safety group Kids and Cars, there were more than 230 non-traffic fatalities in 2007 -- the highest number of fatalities ever recorded. The technology exists to protect families and children from these tragedies at relatively low cost. However, such technology is only available on a select few high-end vehicles or as an aftermarket product that consumers have to purchase and have installed.

The Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act would require common sense child safety protections in all new vehicles. First, it requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to begin a rulemaking on the need to require power windows and panels to automatically reverse direction if there is an obstruction in the path of a motor vehicle window or panel, thereby preventing children from being trapped, hurt, or even killed by power windows in cars. Second, it requires a back-over detection standard that will alert drivers to the presence of a child behind the vehicle. Every vehicle without back-over prevention technology -- technology that exists today at relatively low-cost -- has a blind spot. Some are more than 50 feet long according to testing by Consumer Reports. Third, it requires that in all key positions the vehicle service brake be engaged in order to shift out of "Park." This will stop anyone not intending to drive the car, such as a child, from engaging the transmission and prevent the vehicle from inadvertently rolling away. The legislation also establishes a database on injuries and deaths in non-traffic, non-crash events and a child safety information program to disseminate information to parents about these hazards and ways to mitigate them.

In October 2005, Senator Clinton first introduced the Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act in the Senate. Senator Clinton worked for years to build bipartisan support for the measure, meeting frequently with child safety advocates and families who have lost children, and working closely with Chairman Dingell and a bipartisan coalition to draw attention to this important issue.

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