The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) recently announced that automakers will be required to install back-up cameras in most new vehicles (those under 10,000 pounds) by May 2018. While the NHTSA has previously recommended the inclusion of back-up cameras, this is the first time rear-facing cameras are being made a requirement.
In 2008, Congress passed a law requiring the Department of Transportation to create rules mandating the use of rear-view cameras by 2011. Although the goal was to have cameras required in all light vehicles by the 2014 model year, various obstacles and delays prevented the actual execution of such a rule. Finally, this new requirement from the NHTSA looks to be following through on the call for back-up cameras.
Nearly 210 deaths are caused by backovers each year, 31 percent of which are children under 5 years old and 26 percent of which are adults over 70 years old. The NHTSA hopes to lower this number by 59 to 69 deaths each year with the help of back-up cameras.
Transportation secretary, Anthony Foxx stated, “Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover 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.”
Under this rule, all rear-view cameras will be required to show a 10-foot by 20-foot zone behind the vehicle, in addition to other requirements regarding image size and linger time specific to each vehicle. This will not only give drivers a better perspective on what may be behind their cars in terms of safety, but will also aid in parking and other every day driving needs.
The rear-view camera technology is anticipated to cost $132 to $142 for the entire system and only $43 to $45 for the addition of a camera to a vehicle that already has a display screen. The NHTSA hopes that 73 percent of light vehicles will be voluntarily equipped with back-up cameras by the 2014 deadline, with the rest of the vehicles in production quickly following suit.
[USA Today, CNET, Money.CNN.com]