The United States Department of Transportation has finalized a set of federal standards for rear visibility requiring all new vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds to be fitted with backup cameras by mid-2018. Congress called for the standards in 2008 following a series of accidents wherein driving parents accidentally backed over their young children, resulting to fatalities.
The DOT proposed regulations two years to carry out the Congress’ orders, but the Obama administration postponed the rules a number of times over cost concerns. The release of the final rule came a day before the Obama administration was set to defend itself in federal circuit court against safety advocates filed a lawsuit against government over the delays.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement that the government is committed to protecting the “most vulnerable victims” of back-over accidents -- children and seniors. He remarked that they hope that rule will be a significant step toward cutting back-over accidents. The rules will phase in over a number of years.
Carmakers will have to fit compliant rear view systems in 10 percent of the vehicles produced from May 1, 2016, to May 1, 2017. The figure rises to 40 percent for the next year and to 100 percent starting on May 1, 2018. The timetable is designed to compel carmakers to accelerate their adoption of the backup camera technology, which is now becoming more popular in luxury cars and high-end trim packages.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement that the auto industry has already embraced the technology, and offers backup cameras as standard or option in around two-thirds of the 50 top-selling vehicles in the US.
The Alliance, however, does not a mandate compelling them to make backup cameras standard equipment in every car, saying that customers have their own preferences among new technologies. It said that it is one of their core beliefs that “consumers should be in the driver’s seat” when selecting the technologies to purchase.