Back-up cameras can be life saving - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Back-up cameras can be life saving


A 19-month-old boy was killed near DeWitt in Clinton County Sunday after his mother backed up her SUV from the garage, and ran over him.  There's no way of knowing if the accident could have been prevented.  But there is a small piece of vehicle technology that can help keep your family safe when backing up, without breaking the bank.

Many of the new vehicles sitting on the lot at Witham Auto Center in Waterloo are equipped with a fairly new feature, and it's one that could be life-saving.  In the rearview mirror or dashboard, you may find the view of a back-up camera.

"The back-up camera's wonderful.  It'll actually save you from hitting your kids' bikes and/or scooters.  And also if they're out playing in the yard, and you back out of the garage right away, it saves you from running over your kids," said Amy Schley, who owns a vehicle with a back-up camera.

As soon as you get within six feet of anything behind you, the back-up camera's sensors will be triggered.  We set a camera tripod behind an SUV with a back up camera to test it out.  As it crept closer to the tripod, the sensors started to beep.  And once the driver got dangerously close, a steady alarm sounded.

Car dealers expect that these handy little devices will soon be standard equipment on all new vehicles.  But even if you can't fork out the cash for a brand new car, back-up cameras are also sold at many auto parts stores.  We found one at Blain's Farm & Fleet for around $100.  You can also get a remote sensor that will sound off when your car gets close to an object or person for about $80.

"It's available on most of the new vehicles.  So get it.  I mean it's probably the best money you're ever going to spend," said Meho Huseinovic with Witham Auto Center. 

After all, it just might prevent costly damage caused by your car running into things, and could even save the life of anyone that might get too close when you're in reverse.

Currently, only about 20% of all new vehicles are equipped with back-up cameras.  But the federal government would like to see that number increase, becoming standard equipment on new cars by 2014.  That's because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that there are more than 18,000 injuries, and an estimated 300 deaths each year resulting from back-over accidents.  Children account for nearly half of those deaths.

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