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PROPOSAL WOULD TRACK BACK-OVER ACCIDENTS

A Boca Raton mother joins the national effort to mandate improved safety equipment.

When Arden Rosenfeld's 2-year-old daughter was fatally struck by a neighbor's car backing out of a driveway, she had no idea how common an accident it was. Neither did the federal agency that oversees traffic safety.

Rosenfeld of Boca Raton has now joined other parents to push for federal legislation that would require better tracking of these accidents and mandate safety equipment such as rearview cameras.

"I'd never heard of anything like this until it happened to my family," Rosenfeld said of the 2005 accident.

The Cameron Gulbransen Kids and Cars Safety Act, named for a New York toddler killed when his father backed over him in 2002, was first proposed several years ago. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is one of the bill's sponsors.

At least 183 people - mostly children and the elderly - die in back-over accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency did not begin tracking such deaths until this year, because it did not follow crashes on private property such as driveways and parking lots, where back-over deaths typically occur.

Almost half of all children killed in a nonhighway car crash died in a back-over accident between 2002 and 2006, according to Kids and Cars, a vehicle safety organization. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found more than 7,400 children up to age 14 were treated in emergency rooms between 2001 and 2003 for back-over injuries.

The legislation would require vehicles to have back-over detection systems, such as sensors that beep if something is near the car or rearview cameras that project images onto an interior video screen.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has not taken a stance on the bill, but spokesman Wade Newton noted that the best prevention is routinely checking around a vehicle.

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