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Blind zones in front of SUVs and trucks can lead to deadly crashes. The victims are often children, experts say

SUV blind zones pose growing danger
Blind zone in front of SUVs pose growing danger 03:15

Hudson Foschi was a vibrant 4-year-old who died in a preventable accident when his mother, Jackie, pulled into their driveway in January 2019. She thinks her son ran to get the mail, but she said that from inside her full-size SUV, she never saw him. 

"I was kind of, like, running around everywhere looking for him," Jackie Foschi said. "And then, I looked under the car and he was there." 

Vehicles have a blind zone directly in front of the hood that grows with the size of the car. 

Americans' shift to larger trucks and SUVs comes as deaths from these front-over crashes more than doubled in five years, according to the Department of Transportation, killing over 500 in 2020. Experts say the victims are often small children. 

Consumer Reports tested the front blind zones of 15 vehicles, ranging from about three feet for a small sports car to as much as 15 feet for a full-size pickup. 

The larger the car, the larger the blind zone. 

Automakers told CBS News that "safety is a top priority" and "vehicles continue to get even more safe as automakers … test, develop and integrate new safety technologies." 

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, is proposing legislation to make front-facing cameras and collision avoidance sensors standard. The technology already exists, but the camera is often an expensive add-on. It's similar to back-up cameras that have been required in all new vehicles since 2018. 

"Safety should not be a premium feature," Blumenthal said. "It should be standard just like airbags and seatbelts." 

Jackie Foschi agrees and hopes her family's tragedy can help make cars safer. 

"I would never want another parent to experience this," she said. "It's terrible." 

Safety experts and the auto industry recommend walking around the car before getting in if you don't have a forward-facing camera in your vehicle. 

Full statements from automakers: 

Alliance for Automotive Innovation:

"Safety is a top priority of the auto industry. Vehicles continue to get even more safe as automakers across the board test, develop and integrate new safety technologies that can help save lives and prevent injuries. While these innovations can make the driving experience safer, the industry has always encouraged drivers to take a few extra seconds to walk around their vehicle for a final check before operating them."

General Motors:

Safety for our customers and anyone they share the road with is paramount to GM.  Our responsibility is to make all our vehicles as safe as possible, including the full-size trucks and SUVs that customers depend upon for the utility and features they provide, often in support of their work or family transportation needs.  That is why active safety technologies are critical to GM's future vision of zero crashes. As a driver approaches an object, there are several front detection features that are designed to alert and even apply the brakes and stop the vehicle.  Our light-duty pickups and full-size SUVs come standard with Front Pedestrian Braking and HD Surround Vision camera systems are available or standard on most trim levels.  We encourage drivers of any vehicles to play an active role in safety by always being aware and checking around vehicles before operating them. 

These features are constantly monitoring the surroundings of the vehicle, helping to protect our customers and others from all viewpoints. In a study we did last year with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, we found that some of these features have a significant impact in preventing certain types of crashes, and that the more automated the system, the greater the benefits.

Select standard safety features on the Cadillac Escalade included in the story: 

1.       High Definition Rear Vision Camera

2.       HD Surround Vision Camera – 2 Megapixel

3.       Head Lamp Leveling

4.       Front Pedestrian Braking

5.       Rear Pedestrian Detection 

6.       IntelliBeam, auto high beam assist

7.       Forward Collision Alert

8.       Safety Alert Seat

9.       Automatic Emergency Braking

10.   Rainsense Wipers

11.   Auto On Headlamps

12.   Front and Rear Park Assist

13.   Vehicle Health Monitoring System

14.   OnStar

15.   Passive Entry Passive Start (PEPS)

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