On April 1st, 2012, my daughter Skye Renee Jordan was hit by a truck. I will never forget the day as long as I live.
I was organizing a volleyball tournament when I got the call from my husband — he had run over Skye with his truck. Everything was a blur: Racing back home, driving to the hospital, learning that the doctor on duty that day was the same doctor that brought Skye into this world. Words cannot begin to describe the hopelessness and anguish we felt. It was the worst day of our life.
But she survived. And I thank God for that.
I feel a duty to help ensure no family goes through what we have. I know that what happened to Skye could have been prevented. If the truck that backed over her had better visibility, or a rear-view camera, the incident might never have happened. That’s why we work with KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit that advocates for consumer protections that promote child safety in and around cars.
Working to improve safety standards has given our family a unique understanding of the way Washington works. It requires a lot more than Congress just passing a law and the president signing it to protect our children. For example, six years ago Congress passed a law requiring a new rear visibility standard to help prevent children from being backed over. But that wasn’t enough — it took years of work and, even suing the Department of Transportation to get the new standard released. Meanwhile, thousands of back-over incidents happen every year, costing hundreds of lives.
Everyone knows Washington can sometimes work slowly, but it shouldn’t do so when it comes to our kids’ safety. It took 16 years to get the government to require seat belts, and 21 years to require airbags. It’s that difficult to get something done in Washington and that’s not OK.
That’s why it’s discouraging that Congress is considering legislation, the Regulatory Accountability Act, that would slow down the government even more, add a labyrinth of additional bureaucracy and red tape to wade through before the government can implement the life-saving protections we work for. It’s not just protections like the rear visibility standard that are at risk, it is also other consumer protections like those banning dangerous chemicals or keeping our food safe.
I’m not a political person, but I know what it’s like to almost lose a child. When it comes to protecting our kids, we need action. That’s why I want a government that works to protect our children, not one that gets bogged down in endless bureaucracy. I urge Congress to reject the RAA. When it comes to protecting our kids, Washington needs less red tape, not more.
Casey Parker is an advocate with Kids and Cars, a national nonprofit dedicated to children’s safety in and around cars.