Cambria family seeking change

EBENSBURG – An area family recently lobbied federal lawmakers to make rear-view cameras a standard feature along with airbags and seat belts in all new vehicles.

Eric and Dana Danchanko, along with their children Daric, 8, and 4-month-old Liam, traveled to Washington, D.C., on April 11 to speak about the importance of having backup cameras as a standard safety feature in vehicles.

The Danchankos lost their 2-year-old daughter, Autumn Lynn, in October 2011. A truck driven by her uncle backed over the small child, killing her.

Eric Danchanko said a rear-view camera could have helped the driver spot his daughter and prevent a catastrophe. Mandatory rear-view cameras on all new vehicles could prevent countless other families from experiencing similar tragedies, he said.

The Danchankos met with five other families in Washington, and together they called upon lawmakers to require all new vehicles be outfitted with rear-view cameras.

Speaking with the other families was helpful because each individual had experienced all of the same emotions and understood what her family went through, Dana Danchanko said.

“It was very successful,” she said of the trip.

The Danchankos also met with U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-12th District, to discuss the legislation.

A representative from Rothfus’ office told the family he would look into what was impeding implementation of the legislation, Eric Danchanko said. The main reason appears to be a cost analysis of implementing the technology in every new vehicle, he said.

“I just think it’s wrong to put any dollar value on a life,” Eric Danchanko said. “You have seat belts, airbags, stop signs, stop lights. … From my perspective, I don’t see [rear-view cameras] as a whole lot different.”

He said it was “disheartening” to see the law passed by Congress and the Senate but still not enacted.

The family launched the Autumn’s Angels Foundation in memory of their daughter. In August 2012, the foundation helped to renovate a small park in Ebensburg.

Eric Danchanko said he thinks about Autumn every time his family visits the park or finds some remembrance of his daughter around the house.

“You’re reminded of that every single day,” he said.

Mirror Staff Writer Zach Geiger is at 946-7535.