Intent on reducing the number of accidental deaths and injuries caused by blind zones that exist behind vehicles, the U.S Department of Transportation has proposed a new safety regulation that will require backup cameras to be installed on all new vehicles sold in this country by September 2014. Issued by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, this proposal would mandate rear-mounted video cameras with in-car displays that activate anytime the transmission is shifted into reverse in all cars, trucks and vans with a gross weight of up to 10,000 pounds. The new law would require manufacturers to equip 10 percent of their fleets fitted with these devices by September 2012, 40 percent by September 2013 and reach full compliance 12 months later.
NHTSA estimates that 292 deaths and 18,000 injuries occur each year as the result of these types of back-over incidents. "There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "The changes we are proposing today will help drivers see into those blind zones directly behind vehicles to make sure it is safe to back up."
In making the announcement, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland went on to note that while these new camera systems will be extremely beneficial, ultimate responsibility still lies with the driver: "The steps we are taking today will help reduce back-over fatalities and injuries not only to children, but to the elderly, and other pedestrians. And while these changes will make a difference, drivers must remember that no technology can, or should, replace full attention and vigilance when backing up. Always know where your children are before you start your car and make sure you check that there is no one behind you before you back up."
All interested parties will have 60 days to comment on the proposed NHTSA rule from the time it gets published in the Federal Register. The proposal and information about how to submit comments can be found at: www.nhtsa.gov/Laws-Regs.