NHTSA To Require Backup Cameras in 2018

An idea whose time has come. Backup cameral will be required on all vehicles under 10,000 pounds sold in the United States.  The rule takes effect in May of 2018.  The NHTSA estimates that rear cameras will significantly reduce the risk of fatalities and serious injuries caused by back over accidents.

The NHTSA reports that on average, there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by backover crashes. They’ve found that children under 5 years old account for 31 percent of backover fatalities each year, and adults 70 years of age and older account for 26 percent.

The only downside to backup cameras is they will add to the price of purchasing a new car.  The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates backup cameras will add about $140 dollars per vehicle.  Existing vehicles that already have LCD/LED radio monitors should be able to be updated for less.

One of the drawbacks of many new cars, especially hybrids, is poor rearward visibility.  I’m not an engineer so I don’t know if the reason back windows are getting smaller is to save money or to improve aerodynamics.  Whatever the reason, backup cameras have become a near necessity on cars such as the Chevy Volt, Toyota Prius Hatch Back and any other car with a steeply sloping rear widow.

My experience with backup cameras leads me to believe this a rule whose time has come.  I didn’t realize how much I needed a backup camera until purchased a car with one.  It has saved me from one or two close calls (backing into other cars) and the one accident I’ve had in the last 25 years (I finally managed to back into another car) was when I neglected to use it.

Read the full announcement here:  NHTSA Announces Final Rule Requiring Rear Visibility Technology.

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