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article imageAll new cars will have backup cameras by 2018

By Jenna Cyprus     Apr 4, 2014 in Technology
With the growing number of vehicular accidents, the government is recognizing the need for stricter safety utilities, including mandatory backup cameras.
The U.S. Transportation Department just announced that, beginning in 2018, all new vehicles must have rear-view backup cameras. The goal is to minimize deaths from “backup accidents” and will only apply to newly manufactured machines.
In other words, don’t worry about kitting out your vintage muscle car with a rear-view camera, although that may be a good idea for your own safety and peace of mind. The rules stipulate that all 2018 and later models that weigh less than 10,000 pounds and were built post-May 2013 (including trucks and buses) have a camera that provides for vision of at least 20 by 10 feet behind the automobile.
Backup accidents in the US every year cause about 210 fatalities and more than 15,000 injuries. Supporters of the ruling call it overdue; it was formally issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in March 2014.
Motorcycles are exempt, but you’ll soon be seeing rearview cameras legally mounted on a number of different lightweight vehicle parts. Beyond the requisite field of vision, there are also regulations for display time, dashboard image size, and lighting conditions.
Decades in the making
Rear-view cameras are nothing new. Big construction machines had cameras placed in the rear starting in the 1970s.
In fact, the mounting of rear-view cameras is a throwback to what construction manufacturers have been doing for decades. Most are powered via car batteries and include wiring to connect the camera itself and display unit.
Systems are automatically activated when the vehicle is in reverse mode, and quality systems are easily retrofitted into vehicles, although many newer models already have rear-view cameras.
Sadly, of the several hundred deaths each year, children younger than five make up 31 percent of the fatalities. Adults older than 70 account for an additional 26 percent. As part of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act, the NHTSA estimates that up to 15 lives will be saved each year and 1,125 injuries will be avoided.
Although it was technically signed in 2008, the law (which was named for a Long Island two-year-old who died when his father accidentally backed over him in a driveway in 2002) is finally being put into action.
The need for precaution
Many people see the installation of rear-view cameras as an easy and cost-effective way to save lives and improve safety. Preventive care no matter what you’re doing, be it ensuring the safety of your online presence or taking steps to prevent identity theft at the ATM, should be an integral part of everyone’s daily life, according to supporters.
The rear-view camera law passed Congress with bipartisan support, but delays in the writing of the regulations have caused numerous deadlines to be missed. Some accuse the government of delaying enactment because of “financial burdens” for the auto industry, which is already struggling from the economic shifts.
However, 44 percent of vehicles made in 2012 had rear cameras as a standard and 27 percent had them as options. It’s estimated that adding these systems will cost about $140 per vehicle, which is a paltry sum if it saves a life.
An upgrade for vehicles that already have a system will cost less than $50 and auto manufacturers are going to start including the systems in May 2016 in preparation for the mandatory inclusion. The same way you invest in an anti-virus software for your computer, a little extra effort can go a long way in keeping you and your family safe and secure.
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