The federal government’s obsession with cameras continues. Now the ‘Eye in the Sky’ is joined by the ‘Eye on the Driveway.’ The nanny state — in the form of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — has set a deadline of January 2015 for new regulations requiring all cars and trucks sold in the U.S. to be equipped with rearview cameras.
According to a story in The Washington Post, an average of 228 people are killed each year in what is termed “back-over accidents.” Approximately half of that total involves children under age 10. That’s certainly unfortunate, but those accidents can be prevented today if people will simply turn around and watch where they are going. A technique taught in every driving class known to man.
The installation of rearview cameras won’t help parents who pay attention, because they already know where granny and Gretchen are in relation to the car. And it won’t guarantee that parents who are too dizzy to conduct a simple head count to find out who’s in the car and who’s outside will actually look at the screen.
Those parents may be dividing their attention between the screen and that vital Facebook update they’re reading, with the result that junior still gets hit. What’s more, the cameras aren’t foolproof. Rainy or snowy weather serves to obscure the image on the screen and certain types of sunglasses make any image very hard to see on the screen.
There’s no guarantee that incompetent parents presented with a choice of looking cool in their shades and seeing the screen clearly, won’t opt for looking cool.
What’s more, the market has already responded without federal intervention. Currently 44 percent of cars manufactured in 2012 came with rearview cameras as standard equipment and another 27 percent offered the cameras as an option. So 71 percent of the new cars in the U.S. today have the ability to be equipped with the cameras without Uncle Sam’s meddling.
Well, you say, if they already have the cameras, what’s wrong with requiring them on all cars?
Just about everything. First, it forces people to pay for an option they may not want or need. Secondly, it gives a false sense of security and may actually serve to make oblivious parents even more so. Third, when the government gets involved complication and cost increases. For instance, the Department of Defense recipe for brownies is 26 pages long.
You can’t regulate common sense — possibly because many regulators lack it themselves. And you can’t force drivers to pay attention. For confirmation, just glance at the drivers beside you at the next stoplight.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan. He is president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Click Here Now.
© Mike Reagan