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Blind Spots Can Be Driveway Disaster

Since May 19, six children have died as a result of being backed over in a driveway. As consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen reports, an average of 50 children are hit each week by vehicles backing up and the danger actually increases during the summer.

As we head into the season, the weather is nice and kids are getting out of school and that means more little ones playing outside. Most of these accidents happen right in the driveway and usually it is a parent or relative behind the wheel.

That's why it's so important to teach your kids that the driveway is a place for cars not for kids.

"It's just sometimes hard to sleep, flashbacks of it, the whole thing and praying, hoping it doesn't happen to anybody else," says Steve Campbell, who on an Easter Sunday was backing up his truck in the driveway, thinking his 2-year-old son Drew was in the house.

But Drew had gone outside to see his dad and got caught in Steve's blind spot.

"When I backed my truck up and got out of my truck, he was laying right about here," Steve says. "I started screaming hysterical, and I went to grab him, picked him up, thinking he's alright, he'll be alright."

But Drew wasn't alright; he died on the way to the hospital.

"It happens so quickly, I mean seconds, and they are behind a car or in front of a car, and there is nothing you can do," says Drew's mom, Shannon.

The Campbells had no idea just how many other children were dying the exact same way.

"Nowadays people tend to buy large pickup trucks or large SUVs which have a very large blind spot around them, so kids, big blind spot, big problem," David Champion from Consumer Reports.

Just how big are blind spots? The Early Show had Consumer Reports auto director David Champion put four popular family vehicles to the test, including a sedan, a minivan, an SUV and a pickup truck.

With Koeppen at the wheel, Champion measured her blind spots, using orange cones to simulate a two year child.

On each vehicle, he kept moving back until she saw the cones.

The blind spots went from13 feet on the sedan to nearly 30 feet on the pick-up truck.


Another problem — looking through the mirrors of the truck, nothing could be seen on the right or the left, despite the fact that four small children were standing right behind the truck.

Asked what the solution to this problem is, Champion says, "There is technology out there that can do a better job of sensing what's out there."

Some vehicles now come equipped with backup sensors. If a small child or object is behind you, a warning alarm goes off.

But safety experts say the most effective device is a rear-mounted camera that will let you see exactly what's behind you when you're backing up. But only a handful of car makers offer these on their vehicles.

After their son's death, the Campbells had a camera installed on their minivan, a device they believe should be mandatory on all vehicles.

"It shouldn't take this many children for us to realize we need something like this," says Shannon.

The Campbells are on a mission to warn drivers about blind spots, hoping no other parent has to go through their tragedy.

"Some days are very hard and you think about him a lot. Some days you just think to yourself that's the way God wanted it to be, and some days you think, why us? Why did it have to happen to us?" wonders Steve Campbell.

Several members of Congress and the safety group Kids and Cars are supporting a bill that would require the federal government to set standards for rear visibility.

In the meantime, safety experts say one of the best things you can do before you back up is to take a walk around your car and make sure the kids are far away from the driveway.

The cost of installing a camera or sensors in your car varies depending what type of system you purchase. You would be safe to say that it will cost anywhere from $400 to $900, Depending on the camera system you purchase. Sensors run anywhere from $200 to $400. Any car can be retrofitted with the devices.

For more information about how to protect your family from back-over accidents, click here.

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