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Should car rear-view cameras be made standard?

Department of Transportation (DOT) was to hold hearings Wednesday on a safety issue experts say leads to 50 children being hit by cars per week. It happens when people back up their cars into a child, and it often happens in the car owner's very own driveway.

The DOT is calling for a new law that would require that back-up cameras be made standard equipment on all motor vehicles by 2014.

In 70 percent of these cases, CBS News Correspondent Whit Johnson reported, it's a family member who's driving. He added that, very often, it's a child who is injured or killed when the person behind the wheel simply doesn't see him or her.

That was what happened when 16-month-old Alec Nelson lost his life in his family's driveway.

Adriann Raschdorf-Nelson, of Dix Hills, N.Y., said of her son, "He was endlessly happy. He always had a smile on his face."

Alec had been backed over by an SUV. His grandfather was behind the wheel and had no idea the little boy was behind the vehicle.

Raschdorf-Nelson said, "By the time I got to Alec, I already knew he was gone. ... My father told me he wakes up every morning thinking about what happened."

Last year, "Early Show" Consumer Correspondent Susan Koeppen first reported on the troubling story, and showed just how easily drivers can be blinded to what's behind them.

Little-known danger: vehicles backing over kids

In her report, Koeppen showed how more than 60 kids can be hidden behind a car -- even when an SUV's mirrors are clear.

This year. the problem has led to 17 deaths so far. Today, Alec's father Bill Nelson will appear before the Department of Transportation to argue for a new law that would require rear-view cameras in all vehicles. He says it's a law that would have saved his son.

Nelson said, "There are a lot of great memories of him. We love him. We miss him. We think about what he would be doing today."

Johnson reported on "The Early Show" 60 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.

Janette Fennell, president of the non-profit safety organization Kids and Cars, told CBS News, "People don't understand how large that blind zone is."

Kids and Cars tracks back over incidents. Fennell says most victims are between 1 and 2 years old.

Fennell said, "Children are quick and they are fast, but we are not going to re-engineer the kids, we'll probably need to re-engineer the vehicles, so we can see if they get in harm's way and prevent these tragedies from happening."

Johnson reported back-up cameras are currently standard on 204 car models for 2011, but most of those are on high-end vehicles.

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