Backover Accidents Over? - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Backover Accidents Over?

Posted: Updated: March 31, 2014 10:46 PM
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New rules announced Monday by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration will require backup cameras in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018.

It's exactly the news one DeWitt, Iowa, mother has been waiting to hear:

"I immediately started bawling and then started the phone tree, calling everybody, telling everybody," said Karen Pauly.

Pauly has been crusading for changes to the law to get backup cameras in all new vehicles since April of 2011, when her son, Jack, was killed in a backover accident.

"He loved the park, he loved being outside, and he loved farm life, which is why we chose the Gator," Pauly recalled as she visited a memorial at DeWitt's Westbrook Park for her son, just hours after hearing of the new rules.

The memorial is a lasting reminder of that young life taken too soon and of the Pauly family's loss.

On April 17, 2011, 19-month-old Jack Pauly was killed after his mother accidentally backed over him with her SUV.

"I was leaving my house to go into town with my daughter and Jack was staying home with my husband. He got out of the house. We had no idea he could even turn the doorknobs at that point," Pauly said, "I was reversing out of the garage and hit him."

Pauly says it's impossible to say for sure whether having a backup camera would have made a difference in her case, but she says she knows it would make a difference for somebody.

And since the tragic accident that took her son's life, she's been on a mission to get the rules changed to require backup cameras and to encourage other families to get vehicles that have them.

"I just felt like I wasn't going to just let that happen without trying to do something about it," Pauly said.

She says Monday's announcement from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is a major win.

"I am very excited. We have been waiting a long time," she said.

"It feels like some of those things that we did helped lead to this decision," she added.

Even so, for this mother, the victory is bitter sweet:

"Everybody is saying he is smiling from Heaven and that's great. I'm sure he's proud of me. But, that also is very sad," Pauly said. "So I am really happy. I plan on celebrating... I just wish he was celebrating with us."

And, even with the new rules from the NHTSA, Pauly says she knows there is more work to do:

"All car manufacturers are supposed to have cameras in their cars by 2018, but it is 2014. That gives us three and a half years of those accidents to occur and children to get injured and pass away, and I think it is important to keep everybody knowledgeable about the statistics and encourage them to get this done before then," she said.

Safety groups say, whether you have a backup camera or not, you can never be too careful.

They say you should always walk all the way around your vehicle before you start it up, teach your children not to play by cars, and measure your blind zones. A 5-foot-1-inch driver in a pickup truck can have a rear blind spot of about 8 feet wide by 50 feet long.

Click here for more safety tips.

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