While it looked like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was set to announce this week that all passenger cars will have to come with rearview cameras by 2014, the decision has reportedly been pushed back yet again, probably to the end of this year.
Surround Camera System, in 2012 Land Rover Range Rover EvoqueEnlarge Photo
We’ve covered this story before, back in December 2010 when the NHTSA first proposed the safety regulation. In January 2012, we followed up with a look at some of the best rearview cameras in 2012 vehicles today. But the truth is that, up to this point, consumers either had to opt for an expensive package costing thousands of dollars or buy a higher-trim model in order to get a rearview camera system.
That will probably change now, according to a report in our sister publication, TheCarConnection, commenting that regulators estimate the added cost per vehicle to be in the range of $160 to $200.
But with the latest delay, it’s not looking good for rearview cameras to be mandated in 2014 passenger cars. Maybe for 2015, but it all depends on when the NHTSA issues their final ruling.
The good news is that some automakers have gotten a jump on providing this all-important safety feature as standard equipment, as in the multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines standard on all trims of the 2012 Honda CR-V (reviewed here by TheCarConnection).
Why the mandate?
Just to reiterate the need for rearview cameras, according to the advocacy group Kids and Cars, more than 50 children are backed over by vehicles every week, 48 are treated in hospital emergency rooms and at least two die from their backover injuries.
The larger the vehicle, say an SUV, minivan or pickup, the bigger the blind spot or blind zone, as Kids and Cars prefers to call it.
While the NHTSA studied other solutions, such as radar-based sensors that beeped in proximity of an object, none worked as effectively as cameras. Sensors, it should be noted, don’t detect moving people, especially children prone to dart in the rear path of a vehicle to wave good-bye, the so-called “bye-bye” syndrome.
Check out the Kids and Cars video below for a frightening look at just how blind that zone can be – enough to fit 62 children!