April 1, 2014
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in a long-awaited final rule, will require all American-made vehicles to be equipped with rear-view cameras.
The ruling — a bid to reduce the risk of fatalities and serious injuries — will affect all vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds that are manufactured in the U.S. on or after May 1, 2018.
“Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents — our children and seniors,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. “As a father, I can only imagine how heart wrenching these types of accidents can be for families, but we hope that today’s rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents.”
The NHTSA ruling Monday was truly an eleventh hour act. The agency’s ruling came the day before a lawsuit was scheduled to be heard against the Department of Transportation (DoT) for its failure to release federal standards for rear-view cameras in cars.
Safety advocates sued the DoT last September for failing to implement a law Congress passed in 2008 — legislation that was supposed to be in place by 2011. Dubbed the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act, it was named after a two-year-old who died after his father backed over him in 2002.
The NHTSA said it “took time on this regulation to ensure that the policy was right and make the rule flexible and achievable,” according to a press release.
“In fact, at this point, many companies are installing rear visibility systems on their own, due to consumer demand. Including vehicles that already have systems installed, 58 to 69 lives are expected to be saved each year once the entire on-road vehicle fleet is equipped with rear visibility systems meeting the requirements of today’s final rule.”
There are approximately 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries caused by backover crashes each year. Young children and seniors together account for 57 percent of those who are injured or killed. According to NHTSA statistics, children younger than five years of age account for 31 percent of backover fatalities each year, and adults 70 or older account for 26 percent.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.