NHTSA issues long-delayed rule requiring backup cameras

NHTSA issues long-delayed rule requiring backup cameras

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued long-delayed rules mandating backup cameras in all cars, trucks and buses by May 2018. Congress and President Bush authorized the mandate in 2007, but it kept getting delayed because of cost concerns. NHTSA estimates the technology could save up to 200 lives a year and prevent thousands of injuries.

The mandate will be phased in gradually, with 10 percent of vehicles meeting the requirement by 2016, a total of 40 percent by 2017, and 100 percent by 2018. Many vehicles, especially luxury cars and those with high-end trim packages, already have the backup cameras.

NHTSA estimates that 73 percent of the fleet would have had the cameras as standard equipment without the mandate.

On average, 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries a year are caused by the backover crashes, says NHTSA. More than half of those are children under 5 or adults 70 and older. NHTSA estimates the total cost of the rule will be $546 million to $640 million when it covers the entire fleet in 2018.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers opposes the rule. –We know our customers have their own preferences among new technologies,” the Alliance said in a statement. –It is one of our core beliefs that consumers should be in the driverês seat when choosing which technologies they want to purchase.” The group said it is petitioning NHTSA to allow automakers to use cameras as an option to replace side-view and rearview mirrors.

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