NHTSA Considers Mandatory Backup Cameras

December 6, 2010

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) today proposed a new safety regulation that would require rear visibility cameras in all new vehicles by 2014. The proposed regulation is aimed at protecting accidental injuries and deaths caused by vehicles backing up and over unseen pedestrians – especially young children and the elderly.

The proposal expands the required field of view for all passenger cars, light-duty pickup trucks, minivans, buses and low-speed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds so that the driver can see directly behind the vehicle when it backs up. Although it did not mention the kind of technology that must be used, NHTSA says in its statement that it believes “automobile manufacturers will install rear mounted video cameras and in-vehicle displays to meet the proposed standards.”

According to NHTSA estimates, an average of 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur each year due to vehicle back-over crashes. The most vulnerable group, children under five years old, accounts for approximately 44 percent of the fatalities in back-over crashes. Another 33 percent of the fatalities involves the elderly and people aged 70 and older.

Automotive News reports that equipping a new-vehicle fleet of 16.6 million (produced in a year) would cost between $1.9 billion and $2.7 billion.

NHTSA is providing a 60-day comment period on the regulation that begins when the proposal is published in the Federal Register.

Also see The Car Connection for Marty Padgett’s report on the NHTSA safety proposal.

[NHTSA, Automotive News]

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