Rear cameras better than sensors at avoiding collisions

Rear cameras better than sensors at avoiding collisions

Rear cameras are more effective than parking sensors at helping drivers avoid hitting an object when they are backing up, according to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

In the study, conducted with volunteer drivers in a parking lot in Los Angeles, cameras were even better at preventing backup collisions than cameras and sensors combined.

An estimated 292 people are killed and 18,000 injured a year by drivers backing up into them, usually in driveways or parking lots, said the IIHS. Young children and the elderly are the most vulnerable and likely to be killed in such accidents. The risk is increased by the large blind spots of many vehicles, particularly SUVs and pickups.

The study found that large SUVs had the worst visibility and compact cars had the best. In general, the larger the vehicle, the worse the visibility was.

In the study, researchers used a pole painted with different bands to represent the average height and head size of a 12- to 15-month-old, a 2 _- to 3-year-old and a 5- to 6-year-old.The band for the 12- to 15-month-old was much harder to see than the others.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently deciding whether to require cameras on passenger vehicles. Congress directed NHTSA in 2008 to expand vehicles rear visibility. The agency said last September that cameras are the only technology that can meet the requirements.

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