Backup Cameras Will Be Required On Vehicles By 2018
April 3, 2014

Backup Cameras Will Be Required On Vehicles By 2018

One new feature that has been installed on many new vehicles over the past few years is the backup camera. Its function is to let the driver see obstacles that are behind the vehicle to prevent backup crashes and, more importantly, reduce injury or death to people that would not be seen otherwise.

According to CNN Money, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced this week that most new vehicles would be required to have backup cameras installed by May, 2018. Prior to this announcement, automakers were not required to have the system installed, but NHSTA did recommend it. In 2008 a law was passed requiring NHTSA to establish rules to prevent back over crashes, but was not realized until now.

“While the administration delayed the rule, more children died in back over accidents,” said Robert Weissman of Public Citizen, a safety advocacy group. He added, “The cost of regulatory delay, in human lives, could hardly be more clear than it is today.”

Each year there are around 210 back over deaths, with nearly one third of them being children and many of those are caused by the parents, NHTSA stated. However, by requiring rear-facing cameras on vehicles, between 59 and 69 deaths per year could be saved.

“Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of back over accidents — our children and seniors. As a father, I can only imagine how heart wrenching these types of accidents can be for families, but we hope that today’s rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents,” transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said.

Additional to the safety factor, backup cameras allow for easier parking and a reduction in the embarrassing minor collision that add the extra expense of repairing damage to vehicles and possible insurance rate increases.

The Auto Alliance said in a statement, “Today, the government has stepped forward as a strong advocate for cameras on cars, and this action helps pave the way for using cameras in other ways on vehicles.” The alliance also asked, “NHTSA to allow automakers to remove side-view mirrors and replace them with cameras that may expand side vision while increasing fuel efficiency.”

This rule applies to all vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less and gives the driver the ability to see a 10 by 20 foot area directly behind the vehicle.

Last September, a union of car-safety advocates, along with parents, sued the Obama administration. The lawsuit was filed in the US Court of Appeals in New York with the lead plaintiffs being parents who accidentally backed over their children.

Many auto manufacturers have already installed backup cameras as a standard feature or an option on many new models. This comes well ahead of the requirement to be enforced by 2018.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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