Rear cameras are more effective in preventing reverse collisions than sensors

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 17, 2014

Rear cameras are more effective than parking sensors in preventing collisions during a reverse, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. An IIHS study shows that around 292 people are killed and 18,000 injured annually by drivers reversing. Rear cameras were able to reduce the blind spots that could result to such collisions by up to 90 percent.

IIHS conducted the study with volunteer drivers in a parking lot where a pole was placed at varying points behind the vehicle. The pole was marked with different colored bands to indicate varying heights of children -- with band representing a 12- to 15-month-old child being the hardest to see. Drivers could not see this band using glances and mirrors alone, even if the pole was 27 feet away from the vehicle.

“Right now cameras appear to be the most promising technology for addressing this particularly tragic type of crash, which frequently claims the lives of young children in the driveways of their own homes,” David Zuby, the institute’s executive vice president and chief research officer, said in a statement. Among the vehicle types tested, large SUVs were the worst, having the biggest blind spots.

The Ford F-150, however, fared well compared with other pickups, thanks to its large side-view mirrors. It turned out that most large SUVs and pickups had poor visibility while and smaller cars had better visibility. There is an exception though, the Hyundai Sonata that had a blind spot for the 12- to 15-month-old test around 42 percent larger than the F-150.

The Sonata’s poor visibility was attributed to the sloped rear window and high trunk. The IIHS also conducted a second test wherein drivers weren’t told they were participating in a safety test, but to test the infotainment system. They asked to back the vehicles up and drive to their personal vehicles, with foam dummy representing a child was placed behind them. [source: IIHS]

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