Blind Zone Dangers: A WAFF 48 News special report - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Blind Zone Dangers: A WAFF 48 News special report

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There are dangers lurking every time you get behind the wheel and back out of your driveway. In fact, tragedy can happen while you're backing out of your driveway.

In 2003, a mother named Dianne Anthony accidentally backed up over her then two-year-old son Matthew after he had run out of the house to kiss her goodbye.

She never saw him and she thought she was hitting railroad ties that lined their driveway. Not realizing, she ran over him three times.

"I threw the van in park and ran around the van and Matthew was underneath the passenger back tire. He was covered in the gravel and the mud in his clothes and his eyes were really wide," she remembered.

Miraculously little Matthew survived, but this is far more common than you can imagine. In fact, studies show about 50 children are backed over by a vehicle in this country every week. 70 percent of the time, it's a family member driving.

When orange cones were set behind the vehicles of some well-meaning people, they were caught off guard as they backed their vehicles up. One person admitted she didn't see the cone at all.

Another driver said he checked his rearview mirror and turned around and looked and still didn't see the cone.

It's a wake-up call to what drivers can't see.

According to the non-profit group "Kids and Cars," minivans have an average blind zone of up to 28 feet. Drivers of an SUV have a blind zone of 39 feet. And trucks? As much as 50 feet.

According to a representative with "Kids and Cars" I spoke to, Congress has passed a law requiring all automobile manufacturers to install back up-cameras and sensors as standard features starting in 2014.

She said Ford is ahead of the curve, on track to have the features standard well before they're required by law.

Bobby White, the general manager of Woody Anderson Ford in Huntsville said this is definitely not just a luxury feature. He said this is a life-saving tool.

Will these high-tech safety features work? We tried it for ourselves at Woody Anderson Ford. We set a camera tripod at a height of about three feet-about the size of a child-behind an SUV.

I checked my rear-view mirror and the side mirrors and even turned around to look over my shoulder and couldn't see a thing. As I backed up, a rear-view camera came on, allowing me to see the object quite clearly, giving me distance markers and a beep that sped up as I approached that object.

This feature can be the difference between a close call and a tragedy.

If you want retro-fit your older vehicle by having a device installed, it should cost between $100 and $200.

In the meantime, get out, walk around your vehicle to check or tell your kids the vehicle won't start until they're all on the porch. Either way, a few seconds could very well save a young life.

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