U.S. delays decision to mandate rearview cameras for all cars

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 2, 2012

U.S. regulators said that a rule that requires all cars and light trucks sold in the country to be equipped with rearview cameras won’t be issued by the deadline. It’s even possible that a decision will be made only after the presidential election this November. The Transportation Department was ordered by a 2008 auto-safety law signed by President George W. Bush to issue the requirement by the end of 2011. The department said that this is the second time that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has delayed the ruling and that it’s expected to be issued by Dec. 31. Last Tuesday, LaHood said that the agency is making sure that they have “a good rule.”

In an Aug. 30 letter President Barack Obama sent to House Republican leaders, this proposed rule (estimated to cost $2.7 billion) was listed under the five most expensive pending U.S. regulations. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that making backup cameras a requirement would add $58 to $203 to the cost of a vehicle, depending on the model and if it already has a video screen.

The agency released a statement that it has made progress toward a final rule to enhance rearward visibility but it has decided that further study and data analysis (such as a broader range of vehicles and drivers) is necessary to guarantee “the most protective and efficient rule possible.” When the NHTSA issued the proposed rule in 2010, it stated that this rule could save about 146 lives a year by improving rear visibility of vehicles. Currently, the law doesn’t explicitly require a rearview camera and no other technology complies with the standard.

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