The year 2012 is officially over, and gone with it is any progress on car rear-visibility rules by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
December 31st rolled around without the NHTSA meeting its self-imposed deadline to set new rear-visibility rules that could lead to rearview cameras being mandated.
This marks the fourth such delay since Congress approved legislation in 2007 requiring new standards for rear visibility in vehicles. The standards were initially required by February 2011 for 10 percent of 2012 vehicles, but, as we reported back then, the proposal got stalled.
A story in The Detroit News says the latest delay comes amid concerns expressed by automakers of the costs associated with implementing proposed new standards.
The rear visibility regulation is aimed at attempting to eliminate the so-called blind zone areas behind all vehicles that could hide pedestrians, children, the elderly, small animals and objects. The NHTSA said that 100 children age five or younger die annually in backup crashes, with more than half under the age of one year.
Adding cameras to all new vehicles, said the NHTSA, would reduce backup crash fatalities from a range of 95 to 112 annually, and injuries by 7,072 to 8,374.
The safety agency estimates the costs would be $159 to $203 per vehicle for vehicles without a display screen, and $58 to $88 on vehicles equipped with displays. Costs are expected to decrease over time.
Although the current proposal, which still requires finalization, would require compliance in 40 percent of new vehicles by September 2013 and 100 percent by September 2014, the latest delay by the NHTSA is likely to move those compliance dates further off.
No word yet on how long the new delay will last. The proposal is “still under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget,” said The Detroit News, citing a government website statement.