In an attempt to eliminate the blind zones behind vehicles that can hide the presence of pedestrians, which has proved to be fatal, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed a new safety regulation that would essentially require rearview back-up cameras in all new cars, pickups and SUVs by 2014.
A legislation, called Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act, passed in 2007 demands the rule. The act was named after a 2-year-old boy, who was killed when his father accidentally backed over him in the family's driveway.
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.
The proposal, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), would expand the required field of view for all passenger cars, pickup trucks, minivans, buses and low-speed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 10,000 pounds so that drivers can see directly behind the vehicle when the vehicle's transmission is in reverse, the safety regulator said in a statement.
The automobile makers would install the rear mounted video cameras and in-vehicle displays to meet the proposed standards in phased manner, the statement said.
To meet the requirements of the proposed rule, ten percent of new vehicles must comply by September 2012, 40 percent by September 2013 and 100 percent by September 2014.
The regulator estimates that, on average, 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur each year as a result of back-over crashes involving all vehicles. Of these, 228 fatalities involve light vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less. The agency said that small children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Of those killed each year: 44% are under the age of 5, and 33% are over the age of 70.