Are Backup Camera Recalls As Innocent as They Sound?

New recalls seem to surface every week, with many recalls circulating around the newer technology that we’ve come to expect from cars today. Backup camera recalls aren’t all that uncommon either, with a new recall for the Honda Odyssey’s backup camera system just being announced this past month. For drivers who grew up without the safety of backup cameras, having a system fault or issues might not seem like a big deal, but there are a lot of reasons why having a faulty backup camera is surprisingly dangerous.

Backup camera mandates

Having a backup camera used to be a luxury that you could pay a premium for, and it less common than not to have the camera system set up in lower model or more affordable cars. According to USA Today, all new cars are required to have backup cameras as they are now federally mandated. This hints at the true importance and value of having a backup camera in your vehicle.

An image of a screen showing a backup camera.
Backup Camera | THE DENVER POST/ ANDY CROSS

What makes this feature so important

Drivers that grew up without backup cameras probably don’t care much for them, and in our stubborn ways, we continue to turn around to look behind us — because frankly, the rearview mirror doesn’t give us a wide enough view of potential hazards behind the car. If you turn around in your seat, your vision is still obscured by a number of things, and it is also limited by the objects around you that can block your view of oncoming traffic or pedestrians. With a backup camera mounted on the trunk lid of your car, or sometimes above the license plate, you get the least obscured look at what is going on behind your vehicle.

An image of a physical backup camera on a car.
Backup Camera | Getty Images

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Recalls for camera systems

Drivers who have become accustomed to having a backup camera know that they are the truly superior safety feature, and when the system fails it can leave us with an uneasy feeling. Without the backup camera, there is less visibility of what’s going on behind the vehicle, which could cause drivers to hit something — or someone — as they back out of parking spots.

Another failure that some backup cameras have received recalls for is potentially more dangerous. When the system is interrupted, the screen or feed made freeze, causing the backup camera to show a deceptively clear area for the driver to back up.

An image of a physical backup camera on a car.
Backup Camera | Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Backup cameras may be newer technology for many drivers, but since they have been mandated to be included in every vehicle, they have helped hundreds of thousands of drivers back out of parking spots safely with the most visibility possible.