Karen Pauly was backing out of her driveway and didn’t see her 19 month old son, Jack running out behind her. She hit and killed him. The tragic accident happened April 17, 2011.
Since his death, Karen has dedicated her life to making a change.
“Even at the funeral, one of my friends reminded me that I said I don’t know what I am going to do about this but I am going to do something and it is going to be big,” Karen says.
Karen will be taking her first big step on Thursday. Just days before the anniversary of her son’s death, the Dewitt mother will travel to Washington D.C. and address Congress to push for back up cameras in all vehicles.
The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act was signed into law by President Bush in 2008 and stated that a rear visibility standard was to be issued by February of 2011. After 4 delays and now over two years, the final rear visibility regulation has yet to be issued. Since then, nearly 400 children have died in back-over accidents.
Karen says she is excited to go to Washington and hopes her speech can pressure law makers into finally making this happen.
“From the very beginning I ask them to picture their son, daughter, grandchild or who ever in their life when they listen to me talk about the things that I saw that day when I saw him lying there,” Karen explains.
It means reliving a horrible day for Karen but she thinks a blunt and forward approach is the only way.
“I know it seems impossible,” she adds. “I never would have thought that this would happen to me but it did, it can happen. These people are in charge of deciding whether or not they are going to pass this and I just hope they make a decision they can live with.”
Karen will leave for Washington on Wednesday night. She will deliver her speech on Thursday.
Each week, 50 children in the United States are backed over by a vehicle and about 300 die from their injuries every year. Most victims are just one-year old, the same age as Jack Pauly.
Experts call it the “bye-bye syndrome” since it usually happens when children follow their parents outside without their knowledge to say goodbye.
Last year, the Pauly family dedicated a play area of Westbrook Park in Dewitt in Jack’s name.