• Dec 3rd 2010 at 10:29AM
  • 104
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing new regulations to mandate back-up cameras in all passenger cars, trucks, minivans and buses with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less. If the proposed law goes into effect, automakers must get 10 percent of the fleet in compliance by 2012, 40 percent by 2013 and 100 percent of new vehicles by 2014.

These measures are being proposed by NHTSA to try and reduce the number of back-over fatalities and injuries that occur on a yearly basis. According to NHTSA, 292 people die every year from back-over accidents while another 18,000 are injured. Will making rearview cameras mandatory help curb this? Is it possible but is this another case where drivers are moving further away from knowing actual driving skills and closer to reliance on digital assistance?

In this case, perhaps not. Rearview cameras simply allow for a better picture of what's going on behind your vehicle, and with rollover standards and the increasing size of vehicles, rearward visibility in new vehicles seems to be getting worse, not better. Still, if NHTSA's proposal becomes law, there will be added cost passed on to consumers. Most luxury vehicles are already equipped with this technology – particularly those with navigation systems – but even if the systems aren't that expensive for automakers to install, they're likely to have a disproportionate impact on the MSRPs of inexpensive models.

In any case, you can read some more insight into NHTSA's proposal in their official press release after the jump.

[Source: NHTSA | Image: Damon Lavrinc/Autoblog/AOL]
Show full PR text
U.S. DOT Proposes Rear View Visibility Rule to Protect Kids and the Elderly

Regulation Is Aimed at Preventing Accidental Fatalities and Injuries to Pedestrians in Low-Speed Back-Up Accidents

The U.S. Department of Transportation today proposed a new safety regulation to help eliminate blind zones behind vehicles that can hide the presence of pedestrians, especially young children and the elderly. The proposed rule was required by Congress as part of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007. Two-year old Cameron Gulbransen, for whom the Act is named, was killed when his father accidentally backed over him in the family's driveway.

"There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "The changes we are proposing today will help drivers see into those blind zones directly behind vehicles to make sure it is safe to back up."

The proposal, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), would expand the required field of view for all passenger cars, pickup trucks, minivans, buses and low-speed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 10,000 pounds so that drivers can see directly behind the vehicle when the vehicle's transmission is in reverse. NHTSA believes automobile manufacturers will install rear mounted video cameras and in-vehicle displays to meet the proposed standards. To meet the requirements of the proposed rule, ten percent of new vehicles must comply by Sept. 2012, 40 percent by Sept. 2013 and 100 percent by Sept. 2014.

"The steps we are taking today will help reduce back-over fatalities and injuries not only to children, but to the elderly, and other pedestrians," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "And while these changes will make a difference, drivers must remember that no technology can, or should, replace full attention and vigilance when backing up. Always know where your children are before you start your car and make sure you check that there is no one behind you before you back up."

NHTSA estimates that, on average, 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur each year as a result of back-over crashes involving all vehicles. Of these, 228 fatalities involve light vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less. Two particularly vulnerable populations – children and the elderly – are affected most. Approximately 44 percent of fatalities involving light vehicles are children under five–an unusually high percentage for any particular type of crash. In addition, 33 percent of fatalities involving light vehicles are elderly people 70 years of age or older.

NHTSA is providing a 60-day comment period on this rulemaking that begins when the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The proposal and information about how to submit comments is at: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws-Regs

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think this is great, but for selfish reasons. I mainly want one for backing up to trailers, and right now you have to pay thousands extra for higher trim-levels, option packages, etc. to get this feature pick-up trucks. I am not interested in aftermarket add-ons.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Great, another stupid 'safety' feature. Making the dumb even dumber, every day. Kudos to this great nation!
      • 4 Years Ago
      how about north americans stop pulling in head first in 90 degree parking spots. that practice is dangerous, has no advantages, and the rest of the world does it the opposite way.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Giant loophole in this:

      If the car has three wheels, and weighs under 1749 pounds (I know, that's nothing nowadays, but wait for it,) it's legally a motorcycle, and therefore is exempt from almost all safety regulations, and as a bonus, you get far more lax emissions standards - similar to mid to late 90's car standards.

      You'll see the return of the three-wheel car because of this.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Your voice in this matter can be heard - someone will actually read what you have to say:

      "NHTSA is providing a 60-day comment period on this rulemaking that begins when the proposal is published in the Federal Register. The proposal and information about how to submit comments is at: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws-Regs"
      • 4 Years Ago
      Totatally agree with you. Getting a license in the US is like going down to the market to get a quart of milk, its too easy. People in some other countries have to go through months of driver training just to get the privilege to drive. Anyone see Top Gear when James went to Finland?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Have you seen an SUV without tinted glass sold in the US (you can get regular glass elsewhere). Ooh people think it is sooo cool. The high back windows and side windows (even in that Volvo CUV, where in the past the bottom of the tailgate glass was lower than the side glass) that are so stylish in SUVs. There are a lot of marketable design flaws that we have come to blindly accept as ok. That combined with the laziest and inept drivers can only result in a government trying to impose something on all of us to reduce their liability. For example, seat belts and ABS braking are systems that do things the driver cannot, backing up and not killing someone (like your own kid in your own driveway) is something a driver should be able to do without the help of some device.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dammit, for the love of all that is good and right in this world, stop making things MANDATORY. A family sedan that will never get sideways it's whole life doen't need stability control. A crapbox that makes a raging 110 hp doesn't need traction control, because it can't spin the tires in any meaningful way. And a car with even halfway decent visibility doesn't need a backup camera. I'm a proponent of these technologies, if used in the proper places, and if people feel they have a need for these technologies and want to pay extra for the extra functionality, more power to them. But making them mandatory is flat out stupid. This is why a tiny little crap box now weighs 2400 lbs and costs $17,000. For those of us who can still actually drive well, all of this is unnecessary. My car has traction control. I never use it, because I'm used to the tail stepping out and I can account for it easily, and I wish it had never come with it and cost $500 less. I'm glad my car doesn't come with stability control, because I'd just have to defeat it to be happy with my car, and all it would have done is add cost and complexity, two things I hate most in this world. Backup cameras are another thing I don't need, or particularly even want, because since I don't want the functionality, all it's doing is adding cost and needless complexity. I don't need a screen in my bare bones get to work car. I want to be able to buy a sub-2000 lb car with a few options as possible. I want a basic one disk cd player with mp3 capability. I want my backup warning system to consist of my eyes and good sight lines. I want a manual drivetrain where the only traction aid is a limited slip differential. I don't want the stupid government driving up the cost of vehicles by mandating crap I'll never use that serves only to make the car I'm trying to buy more expensive, heavier, and harder to maintain.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I guess turning your head or using your mirrors is too difficult for some people.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is one of the few additional regulations on autos that I am in favor of at the moment. These would be beneficial, especially with the rise in the height of trunk lid decks on models of the past 5+ years, and the corresponding reduction in sight lines rearward that has caused.

      Now, if they could only go back to "normal" headrests, as the new ones lean way too far forward with no way to adjust them!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I hope you're kidding. If the style of a vehicle's headrest and trunk lid make you feel unsafe then you shouldn't buy that particular car because your driving skill-set isn't up to the task. PERIOD. There are literally hundreds of cars to choose from.

        A better idea would be to require a MANDATORY PASS/FAIL drivers test every few years to instill safe habits and educate people on the the rules of driving.

        Far too often people jump into their cars and follow this procedure:

        1) Insert head into ass.

        2) Turn key.
      • 4 Years Ago
      People don't use there rearview mirror that is only a foot above the screen for the camera, why would they use the camera? This only adds cost and complexity to an already over priced, over engineered product. I thought we were in the middle of a global crisis called "climate change" ? This does nothing to aid fuel economy or efficiency.
      I suppose they could just take the mirrors off to save weight, apparently they don't do there intended job anyway. People should just be required to learn to drive, that or just ban stupid people from the road.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is something I wouldn't mind. It makes it a lot easier to hook up to a trailer among other things.
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