Cars being sold in the United States must come equipped with a backup camera by May 2018.

Federal safety regulators finalized a rule requiring the installation of rear-view cameras Monday morning after years of delays. They believe the law will reduce the number of pedestrians killed each year when they are accidentally backed over.

Roughly 200 people are killed and 14,000 are injured in such accidents every year in the United States, and slightly less than half the victims are children under age five too small to be seen from the driver's seat. A government analysis has shown that about half of the victims could have been saved by a backup camera.

Slightly less than half the victims are children under age five too small to be seen from the driver's seat.

Safety advocates hailed the finalization of the standards Monday, which came one day before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit was scheduled to hear a lawsuit brought by safety groups seeking to compel a final ruling in a years-long process.

"This has been such a fight," said Janette Fennell, the president and founder of KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit organization that advocates for safer vehicles for children. "But we're ecstatic to hear the news."

It has been a bruising battle. Congress passed legislation requiring the adoption of a rear-view visibility standard in 2007. President George W. Bush signed the "Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act" into law. It required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to issue specific standards by 2011. But officials delayed the deadline for writing those rules five separate times. In December, several organizations filed a lawsuit to force NHTSA to release the rules.

"As a father, I can only imagine how heart-wrenching these types of accidents can be for families," said US Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "We hope that today's rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents."

The rules apply to all vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds, including trucks and buses. Cameras must show a field of view that encompasses a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle.

The rules apply to all vehicles that weigh less than 10,000 pounds.

Data shows that backup cameras have already been popular with consumers. They're included on slightly less than half all new models sold today, and a NHTSA analysis concluded they'd be available on 73 percent of all vehicles covered by the rule by 2018 anyway.

The same analysis found that equipping a car with a backup camera would cost $43 to $45 per vehicle in a car already equipped with a visual display, and $132 to $142 for vehicles without one.

Critics of the legislation have said that the cost of enacting the law will tally between $700 million and 1.6 billion, a cost that will be passed along to car shoppers. With NHTSA reportedly employing a statistical cost of $6.1 million as the financial worth of a human life, this legislation is expected to cost between $11.8 million and $19.7 million per life saved.

Yet NHTSA's analysis doesn't discount the "emotional cost" of accidentally killing children is something that lies outside the scope of its normal cost-benefit analysis:

"The agency recognizes that most people place a high value on the lives of children and that there is a general consensus regarding the need to protect children as they are unable to protect themselves," the report said. "As backover-crash victims are often struck by their immediate family members or caretakers, it is the Department's opinion that an exceptionally high emotional cost, not easily convertible to monetary equivalents, is often inflicted upon the familes of backover crash victims."

Fennell, who has worked with many families involved in backover injuries and deaths, said the grieving parents often feel like they're the only ones to ever experience such an accident. But they often grow angry when they realize that an average of 50 such accidents are reported every week, but no standards have been reached to prevent them. Now, those standards exist.

"These are not accidents," Fennell said. "These are predictable, preventable tragedies."


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 155 Comments
      bwhitedjr
      • 1 Year Ago
      Car manufacturers should have included back-up cameras in their products as standard equipment years ago. Instead, they hold off until it is required so the can have yet another excuse to raise the cost of buying a car. I bought all my family back-up cameras for their vehicles at wal-mart for $85.00 per camera when they first became available on the market. It was one of the best investments that I have made towards safety.
        Tony
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bwhitedjr
        Learning how to back up properly would have been a cheaper and more reliable investment.
        Tony
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bwhitedjr
        Another thought, whether they voluntarily did so or waited for the government to mandate back-up cameras, it will still cost them extra money to put them in. There is more engineering, assembly, and material involved, so why would you assume the price would not go up? Also, how many people will actually be able to afford them initially and maintain them afterwards? Certainly, I would never spend a cent on one voluntarily, and others won't have the money to do so. An inoperable camera will inprove safety not one iota. When we were kids, we were responsible to be safe. Getting caught running out into the street, playing behind the car, leaving things behind the car--all these were punishable offenses. We, in short, knew we were getting a whipping if we were caught doing something stupid and/or dangerous. Our parents knew to look behind their cars before backing. No technology will compensate for refusing to act safely, and you're deluded to think otherwise.
          jtav2002
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Tony
          Your logic is flawed all the way around. First, to your point of him teaching how to back up properly, you, as many others here seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a blind spot is. A blind spot is an area of your vehicle that is NOT visible via normal mirrors. The area the back up camera is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to view from inside your vehicle using mirrors and turning your head. Let me reiterate that. It's PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. I don't care how good of a driver you have convinced yourself you are, you cannot see anything in this area. Whether it be dog, kid, whatever. Secondly, what engineering is needed? Most vehicles already have a camera as an option on some trim levels, I really doubt that they need to invest a lot of R&D funds to figure out how to take a camera that's available on the Limited trim of their car and make it work in the SE version of their car. Plus, like anything else, the more you buy of something, it tends to lead to cheaper per unit costs. So I'm really not sure why you think prices are going to skyrocket. They're already producing or sourcing cameras for most of their cars. They're just going to be sourcing more of them. Sure, kids should know not to run behind a car. But not everyone is parent of the year like you, who has flawless children who never do anything wrong. Sh*t happens. It's a matter of life. You can be doing everything right and still have an accident happen. Besides, it's not even all about safety it's about convenience as well. Makes backing into spaces, parallel parking, etc so much easier when you can ACTUALLY see how close you are to something. Plus, while obviously not applicable to everyone, anyone who tows can enjoy not needing to do constant trial and error or the use of a spotter to hook up to a trailer. Camera allows you to do it yourself in one try. I couldn't imagine NOT having one now after using it just for this reason. I get it, people don't want the government mandating anything. Other than that, there really is no logical argument as to NOT having backup cameras standard.
      budshort
      • 1 Year Ago
      Only a 1%± hike in the price of the car, that seems acceptable. I wonder if the drivers will actually use them? Turn signals have been standard equipment on cars since somewhere back in the 50's but I've noticed that over half of the drivers I see on the road today are either too stupid to know what turn signals are or too lazy to use them. Backup cameras are probably going to end up in the same category.
        thescot
        • 1 Year Ago
        @budshort
        In Jersey you don't use blinkers because that causes the driver in the lane you want to go to speed up so you can't change lanes.
      TJ
      • 1 Year Ago
      Installed one on my truck and can't wait to get it on my car. Best investment I made in a vehicle and if it adds $250 to a new one then so be it.
      Abbe
      • 3 Months Ago

      If this is the case then what do we do now about back up cameras that are fuzzy, blurry and Indecipherable on 2015 very large luxury vehicles?

      impeachhobama
      • 4 Months Ago

      I just learned today about this communist state mandate.  What idiots in congress authored this law?    Like tire pressure monitors and stability control, I can guaranty the next mandate will be driverless cars, as the nanny state monitors say that humans are not capable of driving.   Its time for a peoples revolution against the communists that  control all that we  see, hear, drive, buy, sell, or use. 

      what
      • 1 Year Ago
      How about we require parents to take classes teaching them how to be parents?
      Christopher Anderson
      Cars like my GTI don't need a backup camera. If you are even half-aware of your surroundings in a car with decent visibility (so not the Camaro...), then you would have a hard time backing into anyone. Now, mandating cameras for trucks and SUVs, I have much less of an issue with. With just a couple exceptions, every story of kids killed on the site linked in the story were killed by trucks or SUVs. The exceptions were two elderly people in cars and a handful of commercial vehicles, which this rule excludes! Ultimately, you cannot legislate away all injury (though Congress has been trying for decades). Plus, the more "safety nets" you give the average driver, the less work they do themselves.
        badabingbadaboom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Christopher Anderson
        I going to assume you don't have small children.
        iamnid
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Christopher Anderson
        I have the same car and was thinking the same thing. How about just being aware of your surroundings!?
        lasertekk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Christopher Anderson
        Most of these run over incidents appear to involve high profile vehicles. If confirmed, then those vehicles should be were these regs are directed, not everyone.
          Christopher Anderson
          @lasertekk
          And commercial vehicles. I would have thought manufacturers of things like city buses and trash trucks would have added those years ago for sheer ease of use.
          Christopher Anderson
          @lasertekk
          And commercial vehicles. I would have thought manufacturers of things like city buses and trash trucks would have added those years ago for sheer ease of use.
        Christopher Anderson
        @Christopher Anderson
        I have a two-week-old daughter.
      Tesla Fan
      • 1 Year Ago
      every time i look at the camera in my volt to back up i always do a shitty job and am never in the lines. When i look back and just align the car with my visual judgement i park it perfectly.
        Bernard
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tesla Fan
        Does your VCR flash 12:00 constantly? ...
        Michaele
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tesla Fan
        Are you really trying to blame the rear view camera for your shortcomings as a driver? That's lame.
        Michaele
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tesla Fan
        Are you really trying to blame the rear view camera for your shortcomings as a driver? That's lame.
        Michaele
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Tesla Fan
        Are you really trying to blame the rear view camera for your shortcomings as a driver? That's lame.
      pickles
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is super. Safer is better. Period. A backup camera came standard on my car and it's worked just fine since 2006 and 130,000 miles. It's never broken, it's not unreliable and breaking and it's saved me from several surprise low items I wouldn't have wanted to hit. I won't consider a new car without one. I know there are naysayers but when I backup, I want to see MORE not less. Pretty simple, really.
      Travis H.
      • 1 Year Ago
      If I were a Democrat I'd be screaming racism! How can lower minority and lower income folks afford such a thing? Let's not even get into the fact I have to have an ID to operate the vehicle. It'll be interesting to see how much this impacts car prices.
        bonehead
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Travis H.
        They estimate the added cost to be a total of $140 per car. Or roughly 0.5% the cost of the average vehicle. Also if you are not middle to upper income, you cant afford to purchase a new car anyway. Average new car prices are now $30k. well out of the reach of lower income people. Thats more than 25% of americans make in one year before taxes (yes lower income is that shockingly low)
        MechE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Travis H.
        That's why we need the govt to create an act providing aid for lower income earners to get into cars with backup cameras. Everyone deserves the opportunity to have a car with a backup camera. Its not fair that only rich people get to have them. They could fund the act by taxing higher priced cars, rich people dont need all their money and can afford to pay the tax so it works out for everyone.
        MechE
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Travis H.
        That's why we need the govt to create an act providing aid for lower income earners to get into cars with backup cameras. Everyone deserves the opportunity to have a car with a backup camera. Its not fair that only rich people get to have them. They could fund the act by taxing higher priced cars, rich people dont need all their money and can afford to pay the tax so it works out for everyone.
      kyvibej
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great, just what we need, more electronics and distractions inside automobiles. As if cell phones, GPSes, HD and satellite radios, CD players, MP3 players, and large LCD touch screen displays weren't enough, now we can add cameras and monitors to the list. Everything to keep your attention away from the items that matter most: the road and your surroundings. I'm not saying this isn't a nice feature, but seriously? Requiring it? Is there an epidemic of people being backed over I haven't heard about? Or are using our mirrors too old school? Let me guess - there is going to be a tax and an insurance increase for people who don’t get these installed. I’m lucky enough to live in a state without a lot of registration costs (Arizona), and I pay $25/month for insurance (from 4AutoInsuranceQuote), and even then, I can still barely afford to drive. If these things cost us more money, I swear to god… IMO - This is just more crap to quit working on your new car.
        Michaele
        • 1 Year Ago
        @kyvibej
        Let me guess ... You're such a huge m0r0n, you must be a professional and not an amateur. What kind of miserable human being are you that you would politicize something like this? You swear to god if it costs money? Oh yeah, what are you going to do about it tough guy? Come on tell me. Go back in your bunker in the middle of nowhere and stay there.
          carguy1701
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Michaele
          He's right. This is just giving in to the safety Nazis who think that vehicles can be made 100% safe. They can't.
      BERNIE
      • 1 Year Ago
      What ever happened to the day of personal responsibility you know walking around your vehicle??????????????????
        FloppyRunner
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BERNIE
        It probably went away around the same time that having to know how to check and inflate your tires did... :(
    • Load More Comments