Law Requiring Cars, Trucks to Have Rear Cameras Delayed
The Transportation Department has extended to January 2015 the deadline for regulations that would require rearview cameras and screens in all cars and trucks. The new deadline means the law will affect 2017 model vehicles at the earliest.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the extended deadline in a letter to Congress on Thursday, citing the need for additional research.
The equipment is sought to prevent “back-over accidents,” accidents in which vehicles back over people who are behind the car or truck, in the driver’s blind spot. More than 200 people are killed each year and an additional 17,000 injured in back-over accidents. About 100 of the deaths are children age 5 and under. Adding to the heartbreak is the fact that the drivers are often parents or family members of the child victims.
Congress passed a law in 2007 requiring the department to develop regulations by February 2011, but the department has bumped the deadline five times. The 2007 law does not specify the rear camera-dashboard screen combination as the only acceptable solution to reducing back-over accidents. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had determined that the camera-screen combination is the best solution, recommending in 2011 that such equipment be required in all cars and trucks.
The NHTSA estimated that the technology would add $58-$88 to the cost of vehicles that already have a dashboard screen, and $159-$203 to vehicles that need both camera and screen.
Rear cameras are already standard equipment in 44% of 2012 model cars, and the equipment is an opion on another 27% of cars. Consolde screens are standard in 90% of new cars.
Automakers oppose the requirement, complaining that it is too costly and that consumers should be allowed the option of deciding whether to purchase such equipment.