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L.I. Dad Spearheading Charge For Mandatory Rearview Cameras In Cars

Death Of 16-Month-Old Some Spurs Bill Nelson To Washington
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Rear camera

Honda Pilot rear camera. (AP Photo)

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DIX HILLS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A heartbreaking took center stage in Washington on Wednesday.

Each week, about 50 children are hit by cars while backing up, often in the owner’s driveway.

Now there’s a new proposal could make rearview cameras mandatory in all vehicles. Parents say it’s a change that will save lives. CBS 2’s Maurice Dubois spoke Wednesday with a Long Island family that certainly is in favor of the planned legislation.

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“He always had a smile on his face,” Dix Hills’ Adriann Raschdorf-Nelson told Dubois, referring to 16-month-old Alec, who died in his family’s driveway.

“By the time I got to Alec I already knew he was gone.”

Alec had been backed over by an SUV. His grandfather was behind the wheel and had no idea the boy was behind the vehicle.

“My father told me he wakes up every morning thinking about what happened,” Rachsdorf-Nelson said.

Drivers can be easily blinded to what’s behind them. They check the mirror, see nothing out the back, or to the side, and then back out not knowing children easily slip into blind spots.

The problem has led to 17 deaths so far this year. Alec’s father, Bill Nelson, will appear before the Department of Transportation to argue for a new law requiring rearview cameras in all vehicles. He said it’s a law that would have saved his son.

“There are a lot of great memories of him. We think about what he would be doing today,” Nelson said.

Sixty percent of back-over cases involve a larger vehicle like a van, SUV or truck. Minivans reportedly have an average blind zone of up to 28 feet; SUVs 39 feet and for trucks it can be a whopping 50 feet.

“People don’t understand how large that blind zone is,” said Janette Fennell, president of the non-profit safety group Kids And Cars.

Kids And Cars tracks back-over accidents. It said most victims are toddlers between 1 and 2 years old.

“Children are quick and they are fast, but we are not going to re-engineer the kids. We’ll have to re-engineer the vehicles so we can see if they get in harm’s way and prevent these tragedies from happening,” Fennell said.

The Department of Transportation is expected to make a decision on rearview cameras by the end of the year.

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