• Aug 22, 2007

Congress asked the NHTSA to put together a report on electronic measures available in vehicles to help prevent fatalities from people being backed over. The NHTSA doesn't have exact stats on how many people are killed in these kinds of accidents because they mostly happen on private property. However, the agency does have a clear take on what it thinks of reversing cameras: they are "expensive, unreliable, and [give] drivers a false sense of security."

Some commentators have taken that to mean that there is something wrong with reversing cameras, in columns with titles like "Rear-View Cameras Not Foolproof." To put it simply: nothing is foolproof. True, there are rear view camera systems that don't provide much field-of-view or no nighttime visibility. And the gigantic backsides of some SUV's can make it difficult to get everything in the rather small screen used for the navi. Nevertheless, rear-view cameras are meant to be an aid to sound driving, not a preventive that can assure you never run over anyone when you reverse as long as you're looking at the screen.

The NHTSA is working on getting better numbers, but in the mean time it "plans to work to improve the use of detection systems to potentially help alert drivers to backovers."

[Source: Yahoo!]



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  • 17 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      @Richard Warren: Agreed. Don't need a camera for something like checking your reat. In Japan and SE Asia, they use a large square/round, wide angle mirror attached to the rear hatch/door of larger vehicles.

      If you keep your vehicle longer than a few years, I can guarantee that the video will fail and you'll be left with a dead camera and a hefty bill.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's a good safety feature to keep you from running over stuff (like bikes) but, people use it the wrong way
      • 7 Years Ago
      I would rather have a rear view camera then not having it at all. This is the tool to ADDITION to rear view mirror not a substitution.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I suspect that many people would just press harder on the gas. Ever watch someone drive away with the E-brake on -- they just keep gassing it not realizing the e-brake was on
      • 7 Years Ago
      The only rear-view camera that makes sense and that I would buy, is the much-more affordable Ford system. It is shown in your rear view mirror...which is where we look anyway, and don't have to keep looking down at an expensive navigation screen.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Don't worry, this rearview camera in the mirror system is coming to a Honda dealer near you! (2008 Odyssey, check the press releases on vtec.net)
      • 7 Years Ago
      "expensive, unreliable, and [give] drivers a false sense of security."

      Its that true of most of the safety equipment that we now have? Plus it adds weight and complexity to cars making them less fuel efficient and less reliable. The added complexity and parts will also make cars more expensive to fix even in 5mph crashes thus raising insurance rates. All because we try to fix stupid when stupid cannot be fixed.

      There is a lot false sense of security, people with 4WD/AWD driving in snow conditions as if it where dry, people with dynamic stability control think that they can now take turns at a faster rate than physics will allow -- I am amazed at how many people still get busted on the holidays for not wearing seat belts (maybe they believe the air bag is enough) -- and the beat goes on.

      I believe we try too hard to use technology to compensate for stupid driving decisions made by drivers. I believe the US leads the world in safety gadgets required but is close to the bottom for driver safety education -- we seem to always try to buy ourselves out of a problem instead of doing the hard work -- this is true from cars to weight loss -- if there was a pill to help drivers NHSTA would force that to be in every car instead of mandating better driver training.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The backup camera system in a car hardly adds much weight. If the car has a nav screen then it's re-using existing hardware. The camera and wire going to it probably weigh under 1 pound.
          • 7 Years Ago
          it's not that simple,
          now you have to design to accept these cable and the back-up camera, adn this will add complexity adn most likely more weight than just 2 lbs

          and then consider all the other safety adn other features we add and all of a sudden the car comes in at 3600lbs instead of 3100bls.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Much of this could be solved by folks loading their car, doing a walk-around and then immediately backing into the street. Instead the practice is to sit in the vehicle for multiple minutes, then put the car in reverse while talking on your cell phone.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't imagine the camera is much help in mud & snow. Not a replacement but a supplement to rear view mirrors. The trouble is that most drivers get lazy. people don't even look over their shoulders when changing lanes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Heck, I'd want the camera just for parallel parking.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Our Infiniti FX back-up camera works well in daylight. Bright sunlight tends to wash out the picture. Brighter back-up lights would add needed improvement to nighttime visibility.
      • 7 Years Ago
      DUH! Another stupid, gotta have, high tech for the low tech driver option.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i want a camera on the underside of my car so i dont have to get out to see what it was that i just ran over.
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