Child advocates sue over rear-view camera delays

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HOUSTON, TX – For John Woodruff, it’s personal.

“My wife was leaving the driveway to pick up my middle daughter from girl scouts,” he remembers.

And if words could describe the feelings a parent endures when they’ve lost a child, they wouldn’t be fit for television.

“I got to hold her cold hand for the last time,” he says, “and believe me, if you ever want to see hell, go through that.”

In 2011, John’s wife, Olinda, backed over their four-year-old daughter, Rebecca, in the driveway of their Kingwood home. It was an accident – the Ford Expedition Olinda drove too tall, the baby girl too little. But you’ll never convince a parent who has killed their own child that anything could have been done differently.

More than forty children a week under the age of five are injured in this country alone by someone, usually a parent, who backs out of their driveway without seeing them. Each year, more and more cars come equipped with rear-view cameras. For some they’re standard, for others they’re an option. Those who have suffered the loss of a child want it to be law.

“Airbags don’t save every life,” John explains, “seat-belts don’t save every life, but statistics prove they save a whole lot of lives.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it would “recommend” that rear-view cameras become standard on all new cars. That’s not good enough for parents and child-safety advocates who have made it their work to protect children from back-over accidents. A lawsuit filed against the NHTSA hopes to make rear-view cameras mandatory within 90 days of a positive judgment.

Based on numbers alone, that’s just enough time for 480 more children to be hit by cars before any change would take place.