The Battle Over Rear-View Cameras

Oct 30

Back in 2007, Congress passed a law ordering the Transportation Department to have a rule set by 2011 that would require cameras or other backup warning systems to be in all new cars and light trucks. However, many moons later, this has still yet to be implemented and safety advocates are growing restless. Because consumers have been waiting years for this rule to be in place, many organizations and individuals are now suing over the fact that rear-view cameras aren’t in every vehicle coming out of the factory.

It’s way long overdue,” says Patrick Ivision, a 19-year-old film student at the University of Southern California. “Everyday it’s not in place another two kids get hurt.”

And his information isn’t inaccurate. In December of 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 228 people die in light-vehicle backup accidents; most of those getting hit being children under the age of five or mature adults 70 and older.

One of the many affected by these terrifying accidents is Susan Auriemma. Back in 2005, Auriemma hit her then three-year-old daughter, Kate, as she was backing out.

Her face was covered in blood, her clothes were torn from the impact and she was screaming, asking me why I had hit her with the car,” stated Auriemma.

Although young Kate survived and is now 11 years of age, Auriemma is still haunted by what she did and is determined to help get the word out about how helpful these backup systems and rear-view cameras are. “Adding this as a recommendation simply just underscores it’s an option for a car.”

Auriemma, Ivision, and many others have gotten the attention of the Transportation Department. The department recently told Congress it hopes to have the delayed regulation by 2015.

The good news for these safety advocates is that certain automakers aren’t waiting for a rule to be made requiring that backup systems be standard on new models. In fact, Honda is doing all they can to meet a 2014 deadline. According to Honda spokesperson, Chris Naughton, rear-view cameras will come standard with all their 2014 passenger car models.

Senior anaylsyt for Kelley Blue Book, Karl Brauer, agrees that what Honda is doing is the right move for automakers.

“For many consumers backup cameras have reached the same status as air conditioning or cruise control,” states Brauer. “While not standard on every car…these features have become so common that drivers are surprised and disappointed when a vehicle doesn’t have them.”

Brauer also continues his statement saying that there is a “certifiable safety benefit to backup cameras. …It’s time for backup cameras to be a required feature on all new cars sold in the U.S.”

With many automakers already making the change and organizations not holding back, I think it is safe to say that if you buy a new vehicle within the next few years, you will have this safety feature included in your purchase.

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