Rear cameras may soon be standard safety equipment

7:41 PM, Feb 28, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- Two weeks after her second birthday, Veronica Rosenfeld was killed. She was run over accidentally by a neighbor backing out of his driveway in Boca Raton.

For the six years since then, Veronica's mother, Arden, had made it her mission to make rear-view cameras standard equipment in vehicles.

She found out today it's finally going to happen.

"Thank God," said Rosenfeld.

Rosenfeld and other parents who've lost children under similar tragic circumstances are thrilled by reports the federal government will announce this week that by 2014, all light vehicles sold in the U.S. will be required to have back up cameras and display screens.

It was an uphill climb, she says. Initially, there was resistance from the auto industry, because the equipment will add an estimated $200 to the cost of vehicles.

It's a small price to pay, says Carole Holben, who was purchasing a Chrysler Town 'n Country in Seminole. The back-up camera was a "must have" for Carole, who has an 8-year-old grandchild.

"I think it's important to have safety," she said.

The technology, already available in many higher-end vehicles, may require a bit of adjustment, say some drivers. Bob Morissette, who was at the same dealership checking out the new Chargers, drives a 1966 classic car.

"I'm so used to looking at all my mirrors before I even move my car. I'd be concerned about looking at the dashboard," he said, "It'll take a little getting used to at first."

Mirrors alone clearly don't cut it. In fact, without cameras, blind spots, according to the safety organization "Kids and Cars," can be huge: up to 28 feet for minivans, 39 feet for many SUV's, and a staggering 50 feet for trucks.

With an estimated 50 children injured each week and nearly 300 people killed annually,  Rosenfeld says the changes can't come soon enough. It's too late for her own child, but it is a tool that could save many more.

"I feel like Veronica has helped save families and children," said Rosenfeld, "I feel like this is a cause. And she was there to help other children. And she was here on Earth - for the time she was here, she was a very special little girl."

The rear cameras would only be only required for vehicles manufactured in 2014 and beyond. There are, however, several kits out there which can be installed as an option in just about any make or model.

Typically, such after-market camera-kits cost around $200.

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