NHTSA Says, If You're Waiting For Mandatory Back-Up Cameras, Keep Waiting

June 18, 2013

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that, beginning in 2014, all cars sold in the U.S. will be required to have rearview cameras.

The goal of NHTSA's new regulation is to reduce the number of deaths caused by backovers -- the kind that often occur when children are playing directly behind parked vehicles. Around 17,000 kids and adults are injured in such accidents every year. 

The only problem is, NHTSA has yet to establish the official guidelines for rearview camera technology -- rules governing the placement of such cameras, their minimum field of vision, etc. Initially, those guidelines were supposed to be issued in early 2012. The deadline then got pushed back to late 2012. As of today, the rules still haven't been published.

And according to NHTSA's head honcho, David Strickland, they may not appear anytime soon, meaning that NHTSA will likely miss its goal of requiring rearview cameras on vehicles next year. Strickland says that he doesn't want to rush through the guidelines; he wants to be sure that he and the agency "get it right". 

But that's not all NHTSA's running late on. The agency has been slow to lay out a host of new regulations, including sounds for hybrids and electric vehicles and rules for "black box" recorders. NHTSA blames the delays on a "lack of resources".

Are these more examples of bureaucracy in action? Or does NHTSA really need additional time and funds to determine the best course of action? Could it be both?

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