The U.S. Department of Transportation is moving ahead with plans to have rearview cameras in all light to medium duty new vehicles by the 2019 model year, enhancing pedestrian safety in low-speed reversing situations.
The final ruling from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requires rear visibility technology on all new vehicles built after May 1, 2018, and applies to all new vehicles weighing up to 10,000 lbs (that includes buses and medium-duty trucks). NHTSA claims the rule will significantly reduce injuries caused by “backover” incidents (mostly to children and seniors).
NHTSA claims there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries caused by backover crashes during the average year, with children under five years old accounting for 31 percent of fatalities and adults 70 years of age and older accounting for 26 percent. NHTSA expects to save from 58 to 69 lives each year once the requirements are meant by the entire new-vehicle fleet.
“We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents — our children and seniors,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “As a father, I can only imagine how heart wrenching these types of accidents can be for families.”
The final rule mandates a field of view 10 feet by 20 feet directly behind the vehicle, and must meet requirements for image size, linger time, response time, durability and deactivation.
Many companies are already making rearview cameras available in more models, including their less expensive models, but the display varies from large center-stack images to projections on rearview mirrors. According to Automotive News, an earlier NHTSA proposal on the rule had estimated the cost added to a new model price would be $58-$200, based on the equipment.
NHTSA already incorporates rear visibility technology in its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) — the car safety program that rates new vehicle designs on a five-star scale — so new-car buyers could formulate buying decisions based on the safety equipment of each model. Collision and lane-departure warning systems are also included in NCAP.
In March 2014, Honda was the first manufacturer recognized under NCAP for its advancements in rearward visibility.
“Rearview cameras are an integral part of Honda’s approach to enhance driver visibility,” said Art St. Cyr, vice president of product planning and logistics at American Honda. “By the 2015 model year all Honda and Acura models will have rearview cameras standard on all models.”
“We’re already recommending this kind of life-saving technology through our NCAP program and encouraging consumers to consider it when buying cars today,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman. “Rear visibility requirements will save lives, and will save many families from the heartache suffered after these tragic incidents occur.”