Majority Sponsors Law to Prevent "Back-over" Accidents

Nassau County Presiding Officer Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) joined fellow lawmakers Lisanne Altmann (D-Great Neck), Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove) and Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn) in proposing a law that would establish a county Web site promoting child safety and accident prevention and mandate the distribution to all new and used car dealers distribute such information when they sell or lease a vehicle.

The law is being called Alec’s Law for Alec Nelson, a 16-month-old from Suffolk County who was killed in his own driveway because of poor rearward visibility.

“Tragedies such as the death of Alec Nelson are all too common in today’s world, but by simply providing people with information and literature, we can ensure that all car buyers know what inherent dangers could lead to accidents and worse,” Jacobs said.

Since 2000, over 1,100 children have died in non-traffic accidents with 210 in 2006 alone with back-over accidents claiming the lives of 474 children from 2002-2006 compared to 128 from 1997-2001.

“The numbers are staggering and unacceptable, especially when there are so many things for a child to worry about,” Altmann said. “Pulling out of one’s driveway should not be on that list.”

The law would require the Nassau County Traffic Safety Board to establish and maintain a web page promoting child safety and accident prevention for vehicle owners which would include current information and statistical data relative to the prevention of non-traffic related incidents such as back-overs; rearward visibility performance standards; information concerning drivers’ visibility in “blind zones”; general vehicle safety; and, a list of the names and addresses of all businesses authorized to sell new and used vehicles in Nassau County.

“Anything that can prevent injury to a child is something that the legislature should take seriously, and I am proud to co-sponsor a bill that could save the lives of many of our children,” Wink said.

“In following suit with what Suffolk County has done in passing Alec's Law, Nassau County is taking a critical step in raising awareness among ALL drivers of the very real danger of backover incidents,” said Susan Auriemma, Volunteer Professional for Kids in Cars, a safety advocacy group. “Drivers must be aware that a large blind zone exists behind many vehicles being sold today and that after market options are available to address the lack of rearward visibility. While walking around the vehicle before getting in is an excellent precaution to take, drivers must be able to make a decision from the driver's seat as to whether it is safe to reverse or not.  I applaud Nassau County for disseminating this information systematically to their residents and protecting the children of our county.

The legislature heard testimony and debate on the law on June 18, and it will go before the legislature for a vote on July 9.