Rearview display screens and cameras will be mandatory on U.S. vehicles weighing under 10,000 pounds as of May 1, 2018. Almost all consumer vehicles will fall under this category, with the exception of some buses and particularly large trucks. Current statistics indicate that slightly less than 50% of currently manufactured new vehicles include the technology.
To give you an idea of vehicle weight, it would take four Honda Civics to exceed 10,000 pounds and even the largest civilian Hummer is still under the weight limit.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the cameras would save between 60 and 70 lives a year. The new law will require every vehicle to provide a view of the area directly behind the car when it is in reverse. The view provided by the camera must cover a 10-foot by 20-foot area behind the vehicle.
According to the NHTSA, the yearly average for deaths from accidents that occur while driving in reverse is 210, with another 15,000 injuries per year on top of that. Children under 5 years old and seniors over 70 years old account for more than half of the yearly death toll from back-over crashes or accidents in the U.S.
The proposed law came about as a response to the tragic death of Cameron Gilbrenson in 2002.
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Implementation Of The New Law & Cost Considerations
The marriage of technology and transportation safety is nothing new, though implementation has increased, creating a safer driving experience for a greater number of people. Airbags, electronic stability control, and display screens are all examples of safety features that were once only available on luxury cars that now becoming standard on almost all new vehicles.
Cost estimates for implementing the new law range from $50 to $200 per vehicle, depending on whether there is already a display screen–a small price to pay for a simple technology that could prevent thousands of injuries and potentially saves 100 lives annually.
The NHTSA estimates that installation of the cameras on cars without them would cost the auto manufacturers around $2 billion to become compliant. Since the law will be phased in over time, only a percentage of currently manufactured vehicles must meet the standard until May of 2018 when all cars must be equipped with the rear view cameras. Here’s how the compliance requirements break down for manufacturers by date:
- 10% of vehicles built from May 1, 2016, to May 1, 2017
- 40% of vehicles built from May 1, 2017, to April 30, 2018
- 100% of vehicles built after May 1, 2018
Further Reading & Resources
Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007 (PDF) – The text of the act which requires rearview cameras on cars. Now that the act has been signed into law, there will be a gradual phase-in until full compliance is required in May of 2018.
NHTSA Press Release – Read the official press release from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the new law. The NHTSA is a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
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