Rearview Cameras Helping to Save Lives

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Each week, two children are killed and about 50 hurt by cars accidentally backing over them.

In order to change that, federal auto safety regulators are working to make rearview cameras mandatory in all new cars by 2014.

This device is already saving lives for one family in Madison County.

If the back bumper of mother-of-three Theresa Wessels’ crossover comes within six feet of hitting something, the sensor goes off.

“It does get annoying, but it’s usually good because it means I’m not running into my neighbor’s house or my garbage can,” said Wessels.

It also means her three children aren’t hiding in her car’s oversized blind spots.

Auto safety regulators say nearly 8,400 injuries could be avoided each year if drivers could see what was behind them.

A problem solved by rearview cameras.

“It’s a great safety feature,” said Wessels. “Even though we have an alarm in our house, you never know if a kid could sneak out and maybe get in front of the car if we’re backing up.”

According to government statistics, 228 people are killed a year in back-over accidents and as many as 112 of those deaths could be eliminated if the blind spot vanished.

“My husband actually lost a cousin, this is back in the 70s, but his uncle accidentally backed over him,” said Wessels. “And it’s just something that I’ve always kind of had in the back of my mind as just something to focus on and be careful with.”

Rearview cameras currently come standard on 45 percent of 2012 vehicles.

From navigating crowded parking lots to improving parallel parking, Wessels can’t imagine driving without this soon-to-be mandatory feature.

“It definitely gives me a little bit more peace of mind because I just think it’s something great,” said Wessels. “It’s a safety feature that you can’t really afford not to have.”

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