The U.S Department of Transportation and its National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have announced that backup cameras will be required in all vehicles built in and after May 2018, reported the Los Angeles Times. The proposed rule requires all new light (less than 10,000 pounds) vehicles — including cars, SUVs, trucks and vans — to have “rear-view visibility systems,” that is, backup cameras.
“We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of back-over accidents — our children and seniors,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. According to USA Today, “The rule follows an outcry from consumer groups and by families touched by tragic back-over accidents, especially those involving children. They have pushed hard against more delays in the rule.”
In fact, a coalition of parents and car-safety advocates had sued the Administration in 2016; the lead plaintiffs being two parents who accidentally backed over children were the lead plaintiffs. “It’s about time the motoring public will finally be able to see what’s behind their vehicle while backing up,” says Janette Fennell, president of KidsAndCars.org, in a statement. An average of 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries are caused by back-up accidents, many involving children or seniors.
The DOT was supposed to issue a rear visibility standard by 2011, but filed four extensions that delayed it. Joan Claybrook, former head of NHTSA and president emeritus of Public Citizen, told the L.A. Times, “”It’s my understanding that some companies made so much money on these options, they didn’t want the rule issued because then everybody would get it for a much cheaper price.”
The cost of adding a back-up camera to a vehicle that already has a screen can be as much as $1,000. Cameras range from $150-$400, and labor adds $400-$600 for installation. The NHTSA estimates that 73% of light vehicles already voluntarily will have rear-view cameras by the final deadline of 2018 and that the cost per vehicle to equip the remainder will be $132 to $142 for a complete system, $43 to $45 to add the camera to a vehicle that already has an adequate display screen.
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