Local mother praises rearview camera proposal

By Tim Pulliam , Nick Jones - Producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed all new vehicles come standard equipped with rearview cameras by 2018.

According NHTSA, every year there are 15,000 injuries and 210 deaths due to back-over accidents. Children under 5 make up 31 percent of those killed.

Ellen Adams is a local mother who knows the dangers firsthand. Since 2006, she and other child safety advocates have been pushing lawmakers and federal transportation leaders in Washington to mandate all vehicles have rear-view cameras.

Ellen Adams said in 2005 her husband, Matthew Adams, was pulling his SUV out of the driveway when he accidentally backed over their 18-month-old daughter, Ashleigh Adams. It was devastating for the entire family. Ellen Adam's 3-year-old son, Jack Adams, witnessed the accident. A year later, Matthew Adams committed suicide.

"My 3-year-old son was present when his sister passed, so he lost his sister and his father at 6 years old," said Ellen Adams. "So I wanted to work with kids and cars, and try to make a difference and try to show my son that when bad things happen, you can try to do some good things to help other people."

The new regulations would start phasing in on May 1, 2016, models and be at 100 percent by May 1, 2018. The rear-view camera would have to allow the driver to see a 10-by-20-foot zone behind the vehicle.

It's a measure Ellen Adams said will save precious lives and she's ecstatic about it.

"Very happy, thrilled," said Ellen Adams.

Adults over the age group of 70 are also commonly impacted by back-over accidents. The NHTSA said they make up another 26 percent of back-over accidents.

NHTSA said rear- facing cameras -- including those that some cars already offer -- would save between 59 and 69 deaths a year.

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