Some believe that the use of a rearview back-up camera installed in vehicles can help to significantly reduce the number of car accidents that occur each year in the U.S. including fatal pedestrian accidents involving children.
It was for this reason that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was expected to adopt a rule mandating that all new vehicles come equipped with such equipment by 2014. But last month, the agency decided that the issue required further study. The proposed rule in the U.S. would have applied to all new SUVs, trucks and cars.
Further study to test the effectiveness of rearview car cameras should be completed by the end of this year, though, an agency spokesman noted, there still remains a commitment to take steps to improve rearview visibility for motorists. The rule may be approved then, and safety advocates say this would help save the lives of pedestrians and motorists.
If adopted, the rule would ensure that drivers were able to visually observe what was behind their vehicle anytime they started to move in reverse. The installation of cameras would be required in order to be in compliance with this rule since all vehicles have blind spots. The size of blind spots in a vehicle’s rear varies with the size and design of the vehicle. The area behind a vehicle where a driver cannot see can vary between five to 50 feet, and can conceal such things as a fire hydrant, dog, or child.
Alleviating this “blind spot” problem, safety advocates say, could save as many as 112 lives a year, as well as prevent as many as 8,000 accidental injuries. The average cost of rearview cameras, it is estimated, would be no more than about $203 per vehicle, and could be lower for vehicles already equipped with display screens for navigation or related purposes. Although the rule would increase vehicle costs for consumers, it is a small price to pay to help save lives.
Source: CNN Money, “Rearview car camera rules delayed by U.S.,” Peter Valdes-Dapena, Feb. 29, 2012