The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration missed the December 31, 2012 deadline to release rules requiring carmakers to outfit more cars and trucks with backup cameras. The missed deadline represents the latest delay of the rear-visibility standard for light vehicles, which the United States Congress enacted in 2007 to prevent accidents in which drivers back over and injure or kill children.
According to a NHTSA spokeswoman, the final version of the rule is still being reviewed at the White House, despite the deadline announced by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in 2012. NHTSA said in a statement that it remains committed to improving rearview visibility for vehicles in the US, adding that it will release a final rule once the regulatory review process is completed.
To comply with the rear-visibility standards that NHTSA proposed in 2010, carmakers would opt to fit cameras on all of their vehicles. A driver could see the video image on the rearview mirror or on a monitor display fitted in the dashboard. For vehicles without a display, the added equipment would increase costs by $159 to $203 per vehicle, according to NHTSA estimates.
Drivers who want to install video displays for purposes like navigation, may have to shed an additional amount of $58 to $88 as the incremental cost of adding a camera and other equipment.
While the 2007 law says the final rules have to be completed by February 2011, the deadline was pushed back to February 2012, thanks to LaHood. The same month, LaHood wrote to congressional leaders that NHTSA needed more time to complete the rules but aimed to release them by the end of 2012. Safety experts and industry analysts expected the final rules to be released in December 2012.