The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering a rule expected to pass that would mandate rearview cameras for cars starting with 2014 models.
“Adoption of this proposal would significantly reduce fatalities and injuries caused by backover crashes involving children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and other pedestrians,” the NHTSA said.
The agency estimates that accidents involving backing up kill 228 and injure 17,000 people each year. Half of those people killed are children. Most of these accidents involve family members. Around 448 children died in backover accidents from 2006 to 2010.
If enacted, the move would increase the sticker price, but the cameras are already a popular option where they’re available as in Chrysler’s 2012 Town & Country modelsAmericans are expected to buy this year., and pricing has decreased since they first hit the roads. Auto manufacturers are offering the cameras and other options as part of their 2012 models, which more
As opposed to safety features like airbags and brake lights that have also been implemented due to Federal mandates, the rule for backup cameras is meant to protect people outside the car, The New York Times reported.
“We haven’t done anything else to protect pedestrians,” Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington, told the Times.
Even though the auto companies will likely pass on the increased cost to the consumers, the cameras will make backing up safer by eliminating drivers’ blind spots.
“We wouldn’t buy a car if we couldn’t see 30 or 40 feet going forward,” said Annette Fennell, the founder ofKidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit that tracks these kinds of accidents, said in the Times article. “We’re taking this big lethal weapon going in reverse, and we can’t see.”
The impetus for the rule comes from the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act, enacted in 2008. The law, which called for implementing rear visibility standards, is named after a child who died after his pediatrician father accidentally backed his SUV over him.
The increasing size of cars make the move necessary, advocates say, since visibility by the naked eye in these new cars is visible. In many cases, a child is completely invisible to a driver of a large vehicle like an SUV.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli