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NHTSA: Backup Cameras Must Be Standard by 2018

(U.S. News and World Report)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) declared Monday that there must be "rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018." NHTSA's ruling includes requirements for the camera's field of view as well as durability, responsiveness and size of the displayed image.

According to NHTSA, "This new rule enhances the safety of these vehicles by significantly reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries caused by backover accidents." The agency reports that about 210 people die every year as a result of being run over by a vehicle moving in reverse, 31 percent of who are children younger than five and 26 percent of who are adults 70 or older. There are an additional 15,000 injuries reported each year due to a person being hit by a reversing vehicle.

NHTSA's ruling estimates that it will cost between $43 and $45 to install a camera on a vehicle with an appropriate display screen already installed and between $132 and $142 to install a rearview camera system on a vehicle that doesn't yet have an acceptable display screen. Most new vehicles on the market today are available with a backup camera at least as an option, and on vehicles equipped with a navigation system, the backup camera display often appears on the primary screen housed in the center stack.

We recently reported on a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that concluded that backup cameras might be more effective at curbing rear-end collisions while reversing than vehicles equipped only with sound-emitting sensors or no backup technology at all.

Car and Driver adds that backup cameras allow for better visibility in busy parking lots and have made parallel parking for the publication’s staff easier and less prone to vehicle damage.

Some automakers are looking to expand camera use beyond just regular backup cameras. According to Automotive News, Tesla Motors and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which is comprised of 12 automakers, are petitioning for the government to drop the regulation that sideview mirrors be installed on vehicles, which would allow them to install camera technology in their place. "Tesla and the Alliance argue that cameras could be just as safe while offering gains in aerodynamics." Automotive News adds that such aerodynamic improvements would help vehicles return better fuel economy.

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