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All New Vehicles Must have Backup Cameras by 2018

Rules finalized requiring makers to install cameras.

by on Mar.31, 2014

Backup cameras are becoming increasingly common but the government made them mandatory for all new vehicles by 2018.

On the heels of a study showing backup cameras save lives, the U.S. Department of Transportation laid out the standards requiring automakers to have cameras on all new vehicles by 2018.

The graduated requirement is for vehicles less than 10,000 pounds. In 2016, 10% of vehicles must have the cameras. That rises to 40% in 2017 and 100% in 2018.

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“We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of back-over accidents – our children and seniors,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement today.

“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.”

Setting rules for the phase-in of the cameras has been kicking around since 2010 when DOT proposed regulations for the devices.

Backup cameras are already found on many of the latest cars, trucks and crossovers – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said today it expected that as many as 73% of all new vehicles would have had the cameras as standard equipment by 2018 regardless of the rule – has repeatedly delayed announcing formal rules that would make them mandatory – something Congress and President Bush authorized in 2007.

That’s despite NHTSA’s own estimate that the devices could save as many as 200 lives a year – including a large number of children under the age of five – inadvertently run over when motorists back up. Implementation of the mandate was repeatedly delayed by the Obama Administration due to concerns expressed by automakers about the costs associated with cameras.

“With or without the latest NHTSA mandate on rearview cameras, the clear trend is for manufacturers to include this safety feature as standard or optional on nearly every vehicle available in their lineup,” said Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book.  “Consumers can expect to see the cost of entry for most models increase slightly; however, this is one case where the benefits clearly outweigh the cost.”

There are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year, on average, caused by back-overs, according to federal statistics. Children under 5 years old account for 31% of the fatalities each year, and adults 70 years of age and older account for 26%, the statistics show.

The rules require drivers to be able to see a 10-foot by 20-foot zone behind a vehicle. A camera system is the only way for automakers to comply with that requirement and separate standards for traits such as “image size.”

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NHTSA estimates that a full system, including a camera and a display screen, will cost $132 to $142 per vehicle for the 2018 model year. Installing a camera in a vehicle that already has a suitable display screen would cost $43 to $45, the agency noted, adding the total fleet costs are an estimated $546 million to $640 million in 2018.

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The issue of backup cameras came to the fore when after the DOT was sued by Dr. Greg Gulbransen and Susan Auriemma – two parents who lost or injured their children in backup accidents – Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Kids And Cars Inc., and the non-profit Consumers Union, the publisher of influential Consumer Reports magazine. The pair expressed satisfaction that the rule is in place.

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“It’s been a long fight, and this rule took too long, but we’re thrilled this day has finally come,” Gulbransen said in a statement. “It’s a bittersweet day, because this rule should have been in place three years ago at the latest. But this rule will save lives. Though his own life was short, Cameron inspired a regulation that will save the lives of countless others.”

Auriemma said in a statement that she was “not just happy for those who worked so hard in loving memory of the child they lost to the tragedy of a back-over crash, but for all those kids whose lives this rule will save going forward. This could not have come soon enough.”

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5 Responses to “All New Vehicles Must have Backup Cameras by 2018”

  1. Walter Luikey says:

    The people that have pushed this law onto the general public claim that it will save 50 to 70 lives a year.
    There are 60,000,000 cars manufactured a year. If the cost is as the sponsors have stated, $100.00 per car, then the added cost of having these cameras will be $6,000,000,000.00 to save 50 to 70 people. Humm???? Lets see, I think that comes out to be a cost of $85,714,285.71 to save one(1) life. My guess is that the sponsors wouldn’t care if it were 100 times as much because they are not the ones that will have the pay the freight on this one.

  2. Michael Strong says:

    There are not 60 million cars manufactured in the U.S. in a single year.

  3. Lee says:

    Not only do back-up camera/video screen combos save lives, they save cars. How many times have you had a car back out of a parking space and crunch your fender? How many times do you hear of dogs/cats injured/killed in back-up accidents causing the pet parents hundreds of dollars in vet bills to save their animal companion? Or you get that miraculous last parking space near a tree and oops! crunch. The tree is not hurt but your bumper looks like mashed potatoes. But the main thing is that even if this adds $100 to $200 to the price of your brand new car, would you oppose it if you knew that your elderly parent or your little son or daughter was the one going to be run over in a back-up accident by a driver who did not have this device on his/her new car? Hey, get real and get compassionate. If it were up to the auto industry, we would all be splattered over the windshield in cars to which they refused to add seat belts and airbags.

  4. Bruce says:

    Luikey and Michael Strong are both correct. World wide, 60 million cars are manufactured a year. We need to look at new vehicle sales and leases within the US, which is a lot harder to find. A good ballpark figure for sold and leased cars, light trucks, buses, and heavy trucks is 17 million per year in the US. The lowest price I found for adding in a rearview camera (no screen already) was $200, not the $132 to $142 as quoted by the NTHSA. Add in sales tax, then it is $216 from the consumer. Assume that their $43 to $45 is also off by the same degree, then the cost is $69.

    Let us assume that by 2018, 50% of all vehicles would have a screen even without this law. We have 8.5 M x $216 and 8.5 M x $69=$2.4225 billion.
    Also assume the average number of lives saved half of the 210 that died last year would otherwise be saved. That gives us $23 million per life saved. That money would be better spent going to OHSA, traffic police, subsidized gym memberships, hospitals, meat inspectors or other programs. This is a horribly bad bill. The people that came up with this should be canned.

  5. Kim says:

    Bruce and Luikey,
    May I suggest you offer up your children as sacrifices to save those dollars? No one who is a parent would Dare put a price on their children’s lives! I would Gladly pay $200… Give everything I own Including my LIFE to save them from a preventable accident. How dare you act like money is a big deal when it’ll “only” save over 200 lives. You’re not even bothering to factor in the 15,000 injuries. How many of those poor people are in wheel chairs forever now? Brain injuries? And for Crying out loud Bruce…. The stinken price that’s given may be a smaller amount in the article because it reflects the bulk pricing the auto makers get as well as the fact that they may be able to put in in far cheaper than us bringing them into a shop later. I mean how dumb are you?