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

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

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.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Toy

    I really agree with this action whole heartedly. You have my vote!!


    No one is looking for someone to blame or sue. It takes courage to continue to be a voice to save the lives of children. Only when the ignorant add their opinion, who do not know the facts, that it adds fuel to a fire that should not have been started. I stand behind this family in their quest to make the world a better place. And no, it will not take $$$ out of your pocket. May God Bless those who stand up for RIGHTEOUSNESS!

    • Vicky

      AMARK – are you a parent? A camera is not going to take the place of a parent knowing where their children are. If you have someone leaving your driveway hold your child’s hand. A child who is under the age of 5 should not be outside in the yard without a parent present anyway. It’s common sense. I also take exception to you calling everyone who disagrees with this article ignorant – it’s not our ignorance that calls us to respond, it’s our common sense!!

  • Jean R

    The issue of backovers is NOT ignorance or “dumb” people. It is a proven fact that there are large blindzones behind EVERY vehicle made. How can somebody avoid hitting something that they are not able to see?
    Children are fast and curious. Anybody can point fingers and pass judgment, but the truth of the matter is that every single parent on the face of this earth knows that you cannot have your eyes on a child every second of everyday. If you disagree, you are simply lying to yourself. Every parent has experienced a similar situation; however, most are lucky enough to not have it end in this very tragic way.
    I think that those posting negative comments are understandable, but highly uneducated on this matter. The general public has no idea how large these blindzones are and how quickly and unintentionally these tragedies occur.
    My heart goes out to all the families who have lost a little one because they were unable to be seen behind a vehicle and I greatly admire their courage and strength to tell their story, even when they know that they will have to read horrible, heartless comments like those here.
    I am 100% in support for backup cameras in EVERY vehicle on the market. Who seriously opposes something that would save so many young lives?

    • Enough already!


      If you are unsure before backing up, get out and check. It’s so simple even a parent could do it.

      • Jean R

        You are absolutely correct, checking behind your vehicle is VERY important, however it doesn’t always prevent backovers. A child can easily get into the path of a backing vehicle in the time it takes you to get back into your car, buckle-up, turn the car on, shift into reverse, etc… Young children do not have the cognitive ability to sense the danger of a backing vehicle. They run into the path of it without any fear, they want to go with mommy or daddy who is leaving. (it’s called bye-bye syndrome, very common in backovers)
        Let me ask you a question:
        Would you buy a vehicle that you couldn’t see 20-50 feet in front of? Nope, but we are all driving vehicles that we cannot see 20 – 50 feet behind. Doesn’t really make sense when you think about it that way.
        I really do understand your point and parental supervision is key in preventing these tragedies, but again, toddlers/children are fast, they break rules, and they can get away from anybody so quickly. Many times the caregiver is unaware that the child can now reach the door lock or handle and get out of the house on their own, Have some compassion and try to understand the other side of the issue.

    • E Handel

      Jean- if it’s too much trouble for you to check behind your car before you back up, I suggest you take the bus. i dont need the expense of a rear view camera, and i dont have to back up to get out of my space in the morning so it’s unlikely i will run over my kid, dog, or bicycle.
      seems to me that if tractor-trailers can back up without hitting things, your porsche cayenne or BMW SUB should be able to as well.

  • cmon man

    Another parent not taking responsibility for his kids, so the rest of us has to pay.

    • Vicky

      Bravo – agreed!!

  • People Keep Getting Lazier and Dumber

    I come form a family of 8 children. None of us were ever run over. If you are unsure, drag your fat lazy ass out of your escalade and take a look. Duh.

  • Moral Truth

    This would violate the privacy act and thats the moral truth.

  • careyourkids

    I really don’t get it, they can put rearview camera, why the F they can put frontview camera????????????????? it only cost $10 to them.

  • E Ackerman

    When we owned a passenger van, we put a lens onto the back window. It cost about $10 and we could see right behind us.

  • concerned citizen

    For Criminal identification, and accident resolution, all cars should have external omnidirectional camera recorders that can transmit over the Internet in real time.
    This would save court time and litigation costs from everything to traffic court, arguments after accidents where violence comes into play, and who actually caused the accident in the first place. Not to mention car theft and any situation that the camera would give concise evidence.

    • nycdriver

      Totally agree, I have to put camera for video recording while I am driving.

  • IRate

    I am glad to see other people in this world are intelligent. While I, too, feel bad for the guy’s loss, it was the negligence of whoever was supposed to be watching over that child and making car manufacturers spend more to put this technology in and making car buyers have to pay more to afford a car with a ‘required’ piece of equipment is outrageous. I hope that this falls flat on it’s face. Be responsible for your own children. It’s your own fault your child died. You should have paid attention.

  • Don Ric

    my heart goes out to the family of this departed child. however, responsibility is a very big word. i had a loaner car from my dealership which had a rear view camera in it. i did not use this piece of worthless high priced technology. i did what i always do with my SUV. i checked behind my car, and used the rear view and side mirrors, paid attention to what i was doing and backed out of my driveway safely. the people who are the most irresponsible and commit atrocities even by accident to loved ones, are always looking for some magic solution to their stupidity. a rear view camera is just a crutch which in turn will give the incompetent’s a false sense of security. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DRIVING! again, my heart goes out to this family and their departed child.

    • RocMom

      My heart aches for the loss of life of a child. My condolences to the family. I have a rear view camera on my minivan for the second time and it is totally useless. It was not an option so I had to pay for it regardless. I think the back up beeping sensors are much better, but still not a guarantee. It is difficult to back up and watch the screen. It also doesn’t cover every angle. I once backed into a light pole at an angle the camera didn’t pick up. Also if something is under the car or lying flat on the ground, it won’t be seen by the camera. Then there’s the people and cars that dart out behind you after you have your car 50% out of the parking space. Some people are in such a hurry and clueless.

  • Larry

    I agree all the tech in the world don’t make up for unresponsible parents.

  • Gerald Waldman

    Children wouldn’t get run over by cars if cars were banned. It’s just as logical. The parents should have had better control of their 16 month old child and the driver should have looked behind the car before getting in it and kept their eyes open and spotted the child moving in and around the vehicle.

    • lawyer for a day

      well said.

  • Vicky

    I agree this is a sad story but where were the parents, why did they not know where their 16 month old child was? I am tired of parents blaming others for their lack of parenting. Because parents can’t keep track of their children, the auto companies may now have to install rear cameras in all their vehicles…give me a break.

    • ilvedanny05

      I could not agree more. Parents always want to blame somebody else for their inadequacies, but this country has allowed this to become the norm. I am sure that the family will eventually find somebody to blame and sue them. What a sad society we live in today.

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