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Exclusive: Dept. Of Transportation Dragging Its Feet On Rear Camera Legislation

Stats Show Something Must Be Done -- As Gulbransen, Nelson Families Attest

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MANHASSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Fifty children a week are treated in United States emergency rooms as a result of being backed over and crushed under their parents’ cars.

But a new law named after a Long Island child that mandates rear cameras in all cars has stalled in Washington, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported exclusively on Tuesday.

Susan Auriemma of Manhasset accidentally backed over and almost killed her daughter, Kate.

“I stopped the car, because I knew the story of Dr. Gulbransen and had that on my mind. And truly if I hadn’t known his story, I wouldn’t have known to stop and Kate wouldn’t have survived,” Auriemma said.

She credits the courage of Dr. Greg Gulbransen, an Oyster Bay pediatrician, for going public.

After backing over and fatally injuring his toddler son, Cameron, who had darted into the blind zone behind his sport-utility vehicle, Dr. Gulbransen became instrumental in passing federal regulation to require rear visibility cameras.

Cameron’s tragedy has touched thousands.

“Bittersweet. I don’t look at his life in terms of his quantity, but in terms of his quality. We’ve gotten a lot done. He only lived for two years, but this bill came about,” Dr. Gulbransen said.

The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act called for a backup camera in all cars by 2014. However, the Department of Transportation has continued to postpone finalizing its recommendations to Congress.

“It’s been stuck for several years now in D.C., and it’s frustrating and, frankly, very upsetting when you hear about another child being backed over,” William Nelson said.

The Nelson’s son, Alec, died at 16 months when his grandfather backed over him on their Dix Hills driveway.

“My father never forgot. He never forgot the bump, every time he got in the car,” said Adrienn Raschdorf-Nelson, Alec’s mother.

Since then the Nelsons purchased after-market rear view cameras — $125 apiece — for their older model cars, and are partnering with an online nonprofit and kidsandcars.org to distribute blind zone safety kits nationwide — in this case a traffic cone and measuring tape – to make clear to drivers just how deep and dangerous the blind zone can be.

In the meantime, as the rear camera regulation stalls in Washington, nationwide statistics show that two children die every week after being backed over and 48 more are treated in emergency rooms.

Car makers say the legislation has stalled because they are displeased over the rule’s cost. Many companies say rear cameras should apply only to larger vehicles, McLogan reported.

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