A newly issued rule from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require newly manufactured, light duty vehicles (under 10,000 pounds GVWR) to meet specific rear-visibility standards. While motorcylcs and trailers are exempt from the ruling, vans, SUVs, sedans, light duty trucks and buses will be subject to the regulation.
Highlights from the Washington Post article (click HERE) include:
- The rearview cameras must give drivers a field of vision measuring at least 10 by 20 feet directly behind the vehicle. The system must also meet other requirements including dashboard image size, lighting conditions and display time.
- Backup accidents involving light vehicles cause an average of 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries a year, and victims often are children and the elderly, the government said. Children under 5 years old account for 31 percent of the deaths each year, while adults 70 years of age and older represent about 26 percent.
- NHTSA said the new rule, required in the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act, will save between 13 to 15 lives per year and prevent as many as 1,125 injuries annually. The measure, signed into law in 2008, was named for a 2-year-old Long Island boy whose pediatrician father backed over him in their driveway in 2002.
- In the United States, 44 percent of 2012 models came with rear cameras standard, and 27 percent had them as options, according to the automotive research firm Edmunds.
As long ago as 1993, NHTSA had sponsored studies showing “…a disproportionate effect of backup accidents on child victims. One report explored sensors and cameras as possible solutions, noting the accidents ‘involve slow closing speeds and, thus, may be preventable.'”
The driver handouts, manager supplemental report and the power point slide shows offer practical tips to help remind drivers of their need to be vigilant while driving — especially when backing.
The next big question remains…will this new rear-view camera standard give automakers leverage to push for the end of side-view mirrors? (replacing them with live, closed circuit TV looking down both sides of the vehicle?) Side mirrors create a lot of cabin noise, reduce fuel economy and still have large “blind spots” where most divers can’t see.