Personal Responsibility and Cashing In

Tonight while eating dinner at work I was watching the news, which I thought would be the least objectionable thing on. I was wrong.

There was a follow-up feature on a local tragedy, the death of a toddler just 2 1/2 years old, run over by her dad in a driveway backup accident. This is a horrible thing, and I cannot imagine the loss, grief and guilt this would engender in the parents of this poor child. I can imagine a lot of responses, but was unprepared for this couples’ response: ‘It’s the car makers fault for not putting in a backup camera’:

WFAA.com | News for Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas | Latest News
The family of a Garland girl who was accidentally killed last month when her father ran over her is suing a major car manufacturer for negligence.

On October 9, (dad) backed up his Infiniti SUV and tragically ran over and killed two-and-a-half-year-old (child).

“You just can’t imagine the absence that is in our hearts right now with the loss of our daughter,” mother…said. “She rocked our world … she was everything to us.”

The family is suing Nissan, the parent company of Infiniti. They claim new back-up video cameras or sensors which detect objects behind a vehicle were available, and should have been installed in their SUV.

“This manufacturer was already putting it on some of its other vehicles, and it should have put it on this one,” attorney Windle Turley said.

In a phone interview with News 8, Nissan/Infiniti spokesman Kyle Bazemore said the child’s death was “very sad, very tragic,” but added that even when an SUV comes equipped with a back-up video camera, it’s not fool-proof.

“It’s a convenience; it’s not a substitute for proper reversing procedures,” Bazemore said. “Drivers should always turn around and look.”

“Yes, it’s our responsibility, but so many tragic things have happened with children because of that,” (mom) said.

Yes, it’s our responsibility, but

and that’s where you lose me. I cannot be sadder this child died, and these may well be the most responsible and attentive parents on the planet, but what happens to your child is your responsibility, period.

And when horrible misfortune befalls you, don’t blame the car manufacturer because ‘backup cameras’ were available but “weren’t installed”. According the Kelly Blue Book, 2003 Infinity FX35 and 45′s (I don’t know which model this was, there is no mention in the article and the televised report showed only a glimpse) both come with a “video system” as an option, and as it’s broken out separately from the DVD, that tells me it’s (probably) backup cameras.That tells me it was an option, just one that wasn’t ‘opted in’. Even if a backup camera wasn’t available, you knew it wasn’t there the day you bought the thing, and knew that backing up is inherently dangerous. Don’t blame a conveniently deep-pocketed manufacturer for your own negligence.

I have come to a very depressing conclusion: the only tort reform that will ever be really effective is people taking responsibility for their own decisions, their own lives, and the realization that nobody is perfect. I don’t see our culture embracing that anytime soon.

More’s the pity.