“Not all tragedies are preventable”

That’s something Congress should remember, notes the Economist, before it passes more laws named after victims, such as the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2008, under which the Department of Transportation is in the process of mandating rear cameras on cars so as to reduce back-over accidents in family driveways.


  • I think the rear-pointing cameras are a swell idea. You can save the movie and relive the moment when you run over your child, along with a clear view of his or her pain for decades.

    You need a good microphone, though. The screaming and crying will help to keep it evergreen.


  • What was Congress thinking when they named the law for a child run over by his own father? To me it seems awfully cruel to forever remind the father that he was the cause of this tragedy.

  • @ Bob Lipton

    I snorted coffee out my nose at your comment.

  • It’s called “knee-jerk legislation” and legislatures have been doing it for years: take a single tragedy, design a law to prevent it, and name it after the victim. Legislators get to preen about how great they are, and the press never casts a critical eye. But nobody ever follows up on how much the law costs or whether it does any good. Or whether the costs outweigh the benefits, if there are any.

    What if we lived in a society where the pols and the press starting looking at unnecessary, burdensome and outdated laws, and started drives to get them repealed? I swear, I’ve heard journalists actually measure the “effectiveness” of Congress in a given term BASED ON THE NUMBER OF LAWS PASSED. Freakin’ REALLY? That’s the measure? Can somebody slap somebody, please? What if we measured the goodness of a legislature based on HOW FEW laws they pass?

  • So what comes next? Speed governors to prevent cars from exceeding 55 or some other limit deemed by the Nanny State as unsafe? Just like the recent ban on drop down crib sides because of the tragic deaths of about 10 babies in the last 10 years ( in a country of 300 plus million ) the health and safety fascists ,led by trial lawyer fronts like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in their mad rush to eliminate all risks are turning us all into a bunch of pussies. Watch them go after youth sports like football and soccer next since kids do get hurt playing these sports. The feminization of America marches on.

  • You joke Bob, but that’s the next logical place to go. With the “black box” recorders already in the car, it’s only a matter of time until the video and audio is recorded. Add to that, the soon to be mandated GPS tracker data (after all, we NEED this to prevent terrorism, speeding, keep the kids safe, etc).

  • According to the fathers personal account (http://www.kidsandcars.org/incidents/camerons_story.htm) of the event, it would appear that the child was hit by the front wheel while backing into his garage.
    Thus, a rear view camera would not have shown the child who was apparently at the side of the car.
    Bad legislation that cannot even achieve the aim of fixing the problem that was the cause of the legislation in the first place.

  • Two weeks ago, I badly twisted my toe in a hot tub. There was a cover installed over the drain on the bottom of the tub.

    Why was there a cover over the drain?

    Because former secretary of state James Baker’s irresponsible son let Baker’s granddaugher alone in a hot tub, where there was a tragic accident:


    So now there’s another law named after a dead little girl.

    You’re absolutely not supposed to let a child alone in a hot tub. But of course, they never do the right thing–put the parent in jail. American Justice has this perverse principle called “you can’t punish them! They’ve suffered enough already.”

  • But if we don’t create a law to prevent EVERY tragedy, then who will people sue when they experience one and want to hold someone responsible for it?

  • I suspect that even with mandated cameras, we will have no reduction in the number of kids that were accidentally backed over and killed.

  • I’ve personally found that with a rear camera I have to force myself to keep scanning my mirrors and other visual cues; it is very easy to concentrate on the camera view and forget about everything else.

  • As long as there are politicians willing to exploit tragedies to further their career, there will be bad legislation named after tragic victims.
    I’m really disturbed by the way legislation seems to focus on technological solutions to complex problems and apply them in a blanket fashion. I can see why someone would want one of these cameras on a large SUV, but why would you need one on a Toyota Yaris? Smaller cars don’t even have the dash space for a screen giving incentive to build larger vehicles with…. you guessed it, larger blind spots!!!