NHTSA issues final ruling for mandatory backup cameras in new cars
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued its final ruling regarding backup cameras in light vehicles, requiring manufacturers to implement the safety systems on a wider scale by 2018.
The mandatory implementations must have a field of view at least 10 by 20 feet, while meeting other requirements related to image size, linger time, response time, durability and deactivation.
The agency claims there are an average of 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries each year due to backover crashes, with more than half of the victims either under age five or over 70.
"Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents -- our children and seniors," said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The technology has already been embraced by manufacturers, though it typically remains an option on higher trim levels. Studies have shown that approximately 77 percent of all vehicles sold in the US in 2013 were equipped with a backup camera.
The agency expects the technology to save between 58 and 69 lives each year once it is installed on the entire on-road vehicle fleet, a goal which will likely take decades to reach.
The proposed regulations have been controversial since the Department of Transportation was first given the responsibility to create such laws in 2007. The agency was finally sued in 2013 due to its lack of action on the issue. Speculation suggests costs may have been a factor, as camera and display equipment is expected to add between $58 to $203 per vehicle -- or approximately $18 million per life theoretically saved.
"NHTSA took time on this regulation to ensure that the policy was right and make the rule flexible and achievable," the agency noted.
The new laws will take effect on May 1, 2018, for any vehicle under 10,000 pounds.