US government is reviewing NHTSA proposal on rear visibility

Article by Anita Panait, on January 6, 2014

The Obama administration is now reviewing a reworked regulation that would establish new rear visibility standards for light vehicles sold in the United States, according to a White House database tracking the rulemaking process. The standards are intended to keep children from being run over – and killed -- by vehicles moving in reverse.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration submitted the revised rules to the White House on Dec. 25, 2013. Depending on the stringency of the final rules, carmakers might be pushed to fit backup cameras in all their offerings.

The revised rules might allow carmakers to comply through less costly modifications like redesigning a vehicle’s mirrors to cut the risk that a child on the rear will go undetected.

According to the notice, the administration plans to release the final rules by January 2015. However, auto safety advocates might see the timing of the release as not soon enough, as they have been criticizing the Obama administration in its slow pace in implementing the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act that was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008.

NHTSA has already delayed the release of a final rule four times: Dec. 31, 2011; Feb. 29, 2012; Dec. 31, 2012; Jan. 2, 2015. Backers of the bill blame the delays to resistance of the White House to NHTSA's original proposal released in 2010.

The original proposal would have required all new light vehicles to be sold with backup cameras by 2014.  According to NHTSA, a backup camera would cost $58 to $203, but a shift across the industry would save 95 to 112 lives annually.

Topics: nhtsa

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