Feds, Safety Advocates Fight Over Rearview Camera Recommendation | Edmunds.com
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Feds, Safety Advocates Fight Over Rearview Camera Recommendation


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Just the Facts:
  • The federal government said it will add rearview video systems to its list of recommended features in the New Car Assessment Program, but safety advocates see the move as a stalling tactic.
  • Safety advocates and two parents who unintentionally hit their children when backing up sued the U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday.
  • "It is time to stop delaying and start solving a dangerous safety problem with a technology that is available and absolutely essential to saving lives," Jackie Gillian, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, said in a statement.

WASHINGTON — The federal government said it will add rearview video systems to its list of recommended features in the New Car Assessment Program, but safety advocates see the move as a stalling tactic.

Safety advocates and two parents who unintentionally hit their children when backing up sued the U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday, asking a court to order the agency to promptly issue a safety rule that was mandated by Congress in 2008 to set federal standards on vehicles' rear visibility.

Such systems enable drivers to see whether people or objects are in the blind spot behind vehicles. Safety advocates say that each year more than 200 individuals are killed and 18,000 injured in so-called "backover" crashes." Children under the age of 5 account for 44 percent of the fatalities.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to direct the DOT to issue a mandatory rule within 90 days.

"It is time to stop delaying and start solving a dangerous safety problem with a technology that is available and absolutely essential to saving lives," said Jackie Gillian, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, in a statement.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Tuesday said it will begin to identify on www.safercar.gov vehicle models that have rearview video systems starting now. It said it was making the move while it "researches implementation of a rear visibility rule." Next, as soon as the agency is able to verify that systems meet basic criteria, the agency will recognize those vehicles as having this recommended advanced technology feature.

According to data compiled by Edmunds.com, 53 percent of 2013 model year vehicles offer rearview cameras as standard equipment on at least one trim level; 79 percent of 2013 vehicles offer the systems as standard or optional equipment on at least one trim level.

"As we've seen with other features in the past, adding rearview video systems to our list of recommended safety features will encourage both automakers and consumers to consider more vehicles that offer this important technology," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. "While adding this technology to our list of safety features is important, I remain committed to implementing the rear visibility rule as well."

Implementation of the rule requiring cameras on cars has been delayed several times. The rule will not be implemented until January 2, 2015.

Edmunds says: Even though rearview camera systems are available on nearly eight in 10 new vehicles (as either standard or optional equipment), safety advocates want tougher government regulations implemented immediately.

Comments

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    It will be interesting to see how they reconcile rear visibility rules with rear impact structures, roof pillar thickness and styling.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    Even with a rear view camera, my wife managed to topple our garbage cans. The government can mandate their inclusion but can't mandate their use. In this case I'd suggest backup sensors as a useful compromise that doesn't distract your eyes from your mirrors and/or rear window.

  • empowah empowah Posts:

    I don't get why more vehicles don't have backup sensors or cameras as standard equipment. I was in China this summer, and noticed that nearly all cars had parking sensors. They were as ubiquitous as power windows and A/C; you found them not just on luxury sedans and SUVs, but Corollas, Focuses, Polos, even on cheap cars from local brands. It's not like they're expensive or advanced technology, yet they're so useful.

  • stever stever Posts:

    I want the camera (in the mirror) and some proximity noise - the noise saved me from hitting a pole in a rental car a few years back.

  • I agree with empowah, the technology is downright cheap anymore. But I guess since people don't demand it they won't automatically include it. -- and agentorange, has a great point, we've styled and regulated ourselves into cars we can't see out of. Not long ago it was only SUVs that people couldn't see out of. Now it is cars of all sizes. And it isn't just rear view for backing up. No matter how you adjust the side mirrors on some cars there are still blind spots that can hide someone on 2 wheels.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    +1 to greenpony and empowah. One thing I've noticed with backup cameras is that you tend to pay attention to the screen and only the screen. Sensors on the other hand let you concentrate on backing up as usual, but emit loud noises to make you stop if you

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