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Group educates about blind spots in vehicles

Published on -9/17/2012, 6:53 AM

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) -- A national nonprofit group held an event this weekend to educate drivers about vehicle blind spots, about a week after toddler was struck and killed when a vehicle backed out of a Kansas City, Mo., family's driveway.

"Some people don't even know these zones exist," said Amber Rollins, director of KidsAndCars.org, a national nonprofit child safety organization based in Kansas City, Mo.

Nearly 100 people took time Saturday to take part in the demonstration by KidsAndCars.org, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/Ue5sJY ). The demonstration showed that blind spots can be 20 feet or more and are often much bigger than a driver assumes.

"This is just to demonstrate that a child can be behind you and literally you cannot see them," Rollins said.

The demonstration comes in the wake of the Sept. 10 death of a 2-year-old Benjamin Kyle Thompson, who was killed when his father backed up his truck. The death has been ruled accidental, and investigators said the child's father checked his rearview mirrors and didn't see the child running behind him.

Rollins said Benjamin was the 52nd child to die this year by being backed over.

"Nobody really understands or appreciates how large the blind zone is behind their vehicle," said Janette Fennell, formerly of Leawood, who is founder and president of the group. "We can turn our heads and adjust our mirrors, but often we cannot see that child."

KidsAndCars.org advocated for the passage of a children's transportation safety act, which former President George W. Bush signed in 2008. The act requires the federal government to set rear visibility standards for vehicles.

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