Vehicle Backup-Camera Rules Stalled


  • Behind Truck Picture

    Behind Truck Picture

    Thousands of children are found in exactly the same situation as this dummy every year. Hundreds die and thousands are injured. | January 03, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • A federal rule that will require all new vehicles to have a backup camera has been stalled, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • NHTSA said the rule, which had expected to be finalized by the end of 2012, is still going through the regulatory review process.
  • The rule is aimed at helping to eliminate blind spots behind vehicles that can mask the presence of pedestrians.

WASHINGTON — A federal rule that will require all new vehicles to have a backup camera has been stalled, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

NHTSA said the rule, which had expected to be finalized by the end of 2012, is still going through the regulatory review process.

The rule is intended to address dangerous blind spots behind vehicles that can mask the presence of pedestrians.

Every year nearly 300 people are killed and 18,000 more are injured when someone — often a parent or grandparent — backs over them, according to federal safety regulators. Nearly half of these deaths are young children under the age of five.

The proposed rule was mandated by The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007, which was signed into law by President Bush. Two-year-old Cameron Gulbransen was killed when his father, a pediatrician, accidentally struck him while backing his SUV in the family's driveway.

Automakers have expressed concerns about the cost of the equipment. It is expected to add between $58-$203 per vehicle, according to NHTSA estimates.

A number of new models, most notably SUVs, are already making these cameras standard equipment.

KidsandCars.org, a national safety advocacy organization, publishes photos and stories of children who have died in backup accidents in an effort to raise awareness and put a human face on the problem. It also argues that referring "to the area that lacks visibility behind or in front of a vehicle as a 'spot' grossly understates the magnitude of the danger."

"On average, most vehicles have a blindzone behind them that measures approximately 7-8 feet wide and 20-30 feet long," it said. An area of that dimension is certainly not a "spot" and is therefore more accurately described as a 'zone.'"

Edmunds says: This is the fourth delay since Congress approved the legislation in 2007 and an ongoing disappointment to safety advocates.

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