After years of consideration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Monday announced blueprints for regulations that would require back-up safety systems (read: back-up cameras) to be implemented on all light-duty vehicles — including cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans — beginning on May 1 of 2016 models and be at 100 percent implementation two years later.
Recent protests of families and individuals affected by accidents in which an unsuspecting pedestrian was backed over by a vehicle has been a potent force behind the NHTSA’s actions. ”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.
Under the new code, the setup must provide the driver with a view of a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle, and there are also requirements for image size and other factors that all but require rear-view cameras as the only solution that complies, USA Today reports.
A 2010 report from the Department of Transportation said that 210 people die and 15,000 are injured annually in light-vehicle backup episodes. About 31 percent of the fatalities are kids younger than 5, and 26 percent are adults older than 70 — two demographics, who by nature of their age and stature, may be more unaware of their surroundings.
The NHTSA believes that 58 to 69 lives will be spared every year once the entire on-road vehicle fleet has rear-view systems, which is estimated to be by about 2054. This doesn’t include potential injuries averted, USA Today says.
Safety advocates are expressing relief that the measures have finally been pushed through. “It’s about time the motoring public will finally be able to see what’s behind their vehicle while backing up,” Janette Fennell, the president of KidsAndCars.org, said in a statement.
However, many cars already come equipped with backup cameras, even on entry-level models, as included technology becomes a bigger competitive edge for sales. The NHTSA projects that 73 percent of vehicles classified under the new regulation will already have rear-view cameras by the final deadline of 2018, and that the cost to install the remaining vehicles will be about $132 to $142 for a complete system, or $43 to $45 to add the camera to a vehicle that already has an adequate display screen, USA Today said.