Thousands of children die each year when a vehicle driven by a family member backs over them. Driver's training classes rarely mention the blind zone behind a parked vehicle. Driving students look in their rearview mirror, check each side mirror and twist conscientiously to look over each shoulder for danger before putting a vehicle in reverse.
No one thinks about the toddler that may be playing behind the car, out of the driver's field of vision. The child may be in the family driveway or sitting on the concrete behind a neighbor's vehicle.
Tragedy can strike in seconds
In one tragic example, a husband and father put his 2-year-old son to bed while his wife paid the babysitter after a night out. The husband then went back to his SUV to get something from the store. He performed the correct safety checks, then slowly began to back up. He felt the SUV jolt as he rolled backward. Wondering what caused the bump, he put the vehicle in park and jumped out.
A parent's worst nightmare
To his horror, the father saw that he had backed over his toddler, who had slipped out the door while the mother was momentarily distracted paying the sitter. The boy followed his dad to the SUV but did not see him, then wandered around behind the SUV just as his father backed out.
Cameron did not die in vain
That father decided that, on his son’s behalf, he would fight for the lives of other toddlers endangered by backover events. After a decade-long crusade, that father’s persistence finally paid off. His efforts strengthened an existing law ignored by auto manufacturers to force them to install backup cameras on every new passenger vehicle. In honor of that man’s son, the government renamed the law as the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act. It became active on May 1, 2018.
Negligent drivers and automakers should know that American lives are priceless. America's laws can offer redress for the unconscionable acts of others.