Consumer Reports' Consumers Union has joined in a lawsuit filed by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Kids and Cars, Greg Gulbransen, M.D., and Susan Auriemma against the US Department of Transportation, over the department's failure to implement a rule mandating backup cameras in new cars and trucks.

As part of 2008's Cameraon Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act, the DOT was ordered, by law, to come up with rear-visibility standards for new vehicles. In 2010, the DOT proposed mandating backup cameras, but since that proposal, the effort has stalled, with the original 2011 deadline pushed back multiple times. The current due date for a ruling is now 2015. Greg Gulbransen, one of the plaintiffs, who ran over and killed his two-year-old son, Cameron, told Consumer Reports, "It's mindboggling that two more children like Cameron are killed every week, yet the administration is content to postpone doing anything about it. This isn't some technical abstraction, it's about actual people being injured and killed."

The suit seeks to force the DOT to issue an immediate ruling that can be implemented before the 2015 deadline, which according to Consumers Union, would prevent up to 95 to 112 deaths per year.


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  • 152 Comments
      telm12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      The thing I don't get is - my parents didn't have a backup camera and neither did I. We never drove over anyone. We were just CAREFUL and understood the RESPONSBILITY associated with driving. Maybe that's really where the issue is...
        Doug Utz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @telm12345
        Couldn't agree more. While I can't imagine what this Father is going through, I think he's pointing fingers at the wrong party. We're in the land of zero personal responsibility today. Though I did order a backup camera on my current car, I did it because rear visibility isn't that great. But that doesn't mean I don't check my surroundings and use my mirrors like I always have had to do before. The camera is an aid, not a replacement for common sense and driver responsibility.
      basiq
      • 1 Year Ago
      Always easier to blame someone else for someone's own failures. I am of course sorry for these people's losses but: how can you not make sure your kids are out of the way before you back up? Blame yourself first, please. Also, if I remember one of the press photos correctly, one lady killed her kid in an Escalade she was clearly unfit to operate. How about buying a normal size car rather than a tank? Now government and industry are taking the blame, and for once I don't think they should.
        jtav2002
        • 1 Year Ago
        @basiq
        In some places, some people have neighbors. Neighbors who have kids. It's not all about YOUR kids. You could be parent of the year, do everything right, check every mirror, walk around your vehicle 12 times and you could still have a little kid run behind you from next door in the time it took you to get in your vehicle, buckle up, start it up, check mirrors, put it in gear, etc etc.
          Camaroman101
          • 1 Year Ago
          @jtav2002
          that would still be someone else's fault, your neighbors for letting their kids run loose.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Frankly I find the proximity sensors slightly more useful than the center dash mounted camera. The reason being the sensors will sound the alarm even if you were not paying attention, whereas the camera will only work if you are looking at it. But I agree that some sort of standard would be good.
      CaptPugwash
      • 1 Year Ago
      If people actually knew how to drive this would not be any issue. The vast majority of US drivers could not pass a European driving test because that lack basic driving skills. The problem is not the lack of technology its the lack of basic ability in american drivers and and that the Police only look for easy targets as a tax revenue, Force the police to start targeting bad driving such as tail gaters, lane hogs, red light jumpers not just the easy low hanging fruit of speeding drivers, Make the driving test harder, anyone getting a ticket for bad driving has to retake the test and no restricted driving so you can still do your job. If you chose to drive like an ass then tough, you loose you licence.
      Louis MacKenzie
      • 1 Year Ago
      You need a back up camera for Miata and Boxter? PLEASE! Less mandate and more options.
      straferhoo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Will most drivers even bother to use it? I constantly see drivers in new cars with a smart phone stuck to their face so they don't bother to use hands free feature either.
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @straferhoo
        People who will not use it do not use mirrors either, people who do use mirrors and turn heads (90%) will use it.
          straferhoo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          Or more likely continue turning heads and ignore the RVC.
      BG
      • 1 Year Ago
      Rather than mandate a camera, how about if the DOT mandates: 1. Stupidity is not allowed behind steering wheel. 2. Drivers be properly trained and periodically re-tested. 3. Petite women may not drive monstrous SUVs where they can barely see out over the hood, let alone out the rear window. 4. etc.
        Mr Sled
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BG
        Agreed. However, unfortunately we have as good a chance of unicorns becoming a viable method of transportation as any of your mandates
      Klinkster
      • 1 Year Ago
      What a joke. You can't sue the government to change regulations. But you can certainly vote the bums out of office! Hope the judge kicks their case and ensures court cost are paid by the plaintiffs. I've lost more respect for CR today - who seem more interested in self-marketing to counter their declining relevance rather than working to analyse objective data to support real consumers.
      cadetgray
      • 1 Year Ago
      How about we just accept the fact that life is full of risks and that as much as we think we somehow deserve a life of no pain or suffering, we cannot legislate such reality into existence. Life can be fun, life can be dangerous, life can be safe, and life can be somewhat predictable, but it can't be all those things all of the time. The most attainable fun driving can often be found behind the wheel of older elemental autos like a Citröen 2CV or an Aircooled VW. Safety systems minimal, but the were affordable, reliable, and repairable. Honestly I believe both example cars would be less of a threat to children's welfare than a 4,000 pound BMW SUV.
      johnnythemoney
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'll admit backup cameras can help, but a lawsuit seems completely out of place. Oh wait, this is America after all... Seriously, it's a good tech and it may save you from some little accidents, but it won't fix drivers not paying enough attention to what they are doing. Parking sensors could do just the same, as generally people tend to listen to an annoying beeep saying "you're going to scratch it pal", but they didn't screamed out loud to have them mandatory.
        Seal Rchin
        • 1 Year Ago
        @johnnythemoney
        But lawsuit is not to mandate cameras..........lawsuit is to force government to enforce a law that is passed. Per article, law was passed in 2008 and Gov refuses to follow it.
          Car Guy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Seal Rchin
          And by the time the case is litigated, it will be well past the 2015 date.......
      ACF
      • 1 Year Ago
      You are more likely to be killed by a deer in the US than getting backed over. Its unfortunate that people die, but this is ridiculous.
      telm12345
      • 1 Year Ago
      Also, could this possibly make things worse if people stop relying on their senses and backup using the camera only? This may give them WAY too much "Safety" in terms of being able to run people over and say "hey, I couldn't see him in the camera?" I'm just curious. Thoughts?
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