Clutching his favorite blue blanket Cameron Gulbransen ran outside into the dead of night as fast as his chubby little legs could take him because his daddy, who had just come home, looked like he was leaving again. The two-year-old, who spoke very little, had never done this before, so when he passed his mother in the kitchen, running so fast he tripped, she did not suspect he was heading toward the door. She was paying the babysitter.
Once outside, Cameron got as far as the driveway, not understanding that he needed to move out of the way of his daddy’s car, the rear of which headed toward him. In a split second, the beautiful child with the infectious smile who was fondly called “Twinkle,” was dead, the victim of a backover accident.
His father, Greg, an Oyster Bay pediatrician, said he was slowly backing his car into a narrow driveway and could not see anything behind his car. When he saw his child under the car’s front tire he remembered the hug Cameron had given him only moments before. “Cameron was awake when we got home from dinner and I went upstairs to give him a kiss and he gave me a big juicy hug. I was struck by that hug.”
Greg’s life changed dramatically after the accident. He became relentlessly committed to ensuring that what happened to his little boy would never happen again. Three months after Cameron’s tragic death, Greg began his crusade to change the way cars are manufactured. “I decided to take my grief and channel it to make policy change,” he said.
After fighting for 12 years he won.
The U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced on March 31, 2014 that they are requiring rear visibility technology — cameras — in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018.
“Rear visibility requirements will save lives, and will save many families from the heartache suffered after these tragic incidents occur,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman.
But some car manufacturers aren’t waiting. Honda, for example, has already mandated that all of their new models have the rear cameras installed.