The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Monday that rear view cameras will be required in most new vehicles sold in the United States after May 2018.
"Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents — our children and seniors," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in the release
. "As a father, I can only imagine how heartwrenching 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."
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Vehicles under 10,000 pounds will fall under this rule, and the camera must enable the driver to see a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle, the release said. There are other requirements of the systems, including things like image size and durability.
"Rear visibility requirements will save lives, and will save many families from the heartache suffered after these tragic incidents occur," said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman in the release. "We're already recommending this kind of life-saving technology through our NCAP program and encouraging consumers to consider it when buying cars today."
The NHTSA said there are about 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries every year from backover accidents. Children under 5 years of age account for 31 percent of the fatalities and adults 70 years and older account for 26 percent.
Consumers Union issued a statement in support of the new regulation, but lambasted the government for taking so long to pass it. The organization said Congress was supposed to issue the regulation by 2011, but the “Obama Administration flouted the deadline and did not issue the rule until today, after a coalition of safety advocates, including Cameron’s father, sued DOT.” Cameron Gulbransen was killed in a backover accident at age 2, and a 2008 law was named after him.
“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,” Dr. Greg Gulbransen said in the CU press release.
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