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Letter to Editor submitted (but not accepted) on 2013-10-03 to New York Times in response to their 2013-10-03 editorial* .


The editorial A Blind Spot on Rearview Cameras (NYT, Oct 2,3) illustrates the real blind spot in US traffic safety policy. Much scientific research has shown that adding another gadget to a vehicle is unlikely to enhance safety; this one encourages faster reversing. Eighty years of scientific research has shown with the utmost clarity what is important to enhance safety. Vehicle factors are important, but not nearly as important as road factors, which are not nearly as important as driver behavior factors. Casualties can be reduced substantially only by public policies aimed at how people behave in traffic. The governments of many countries are guided by safety science. For example, in the Netherlands traffic deaths declined by 85% since 1972, yet in the US by only 40%. If our deaths had declined by 85%, we would kill 20,000 fewer Americans each year.


*EDITORIAL 'A Blind Spot on Rearview Cameras' By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, New York Times, Published: October 2, 2013..  the Obama administration has balked at carrying out a law that requires rearview technology in new cars. The delay is inexcusable. The rearview law, enacted by Congress in 2008, gave the Transportation Department until February 2011 to issue a rule telling automakers how to comply. But the department and the White House Office of Management and Budget, which vets new rules, have virtually paralyzed the process. .. Etc.