After years of discussion, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued its final rules that will require all vehicles under 10,000 pounds to be fitted with some form of enhanced rear-vision technology as standard equipment. Automakers must begin fitting vehicles with systems that comply with the mandate starting in May 2016 with full implementation due by May 1, 2018.
Under terms of this new NHTSA ruling, the rear-view camera systems must provide the driver with a 10-foot by 20-foot unobstructed field of vision directly behind the vehicle. They also must meet a number of other specifications regarding image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation.
NHTSA believes the new rule will significantly reduce the risk of deaths and serious injuries caused by back over accidents that currently claim 201 lives each year and injure another 15,000. According to the data it cited, children under the age of five make up 31 percent of those fatalities and adults over 70 accounts for an additional 26 percent of that total.
"Rear visibility requirements will save lives, and will save many families from the heartache suffered after these tragic incidents occur," said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. "We're already recommending this kind of life-saving technology through our NCAP program and encouraging consumers to consider it when buying cars today," noted Friedman, who pointed out that the rule complements NHTSA's recent decision to add rear-visibility technology evaluation to the testing regimen used in the organization's 5-Star Safety Ratings.
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