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NHTSA rear view cameras: New rule requires back visibility for vehicle safety

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is making rear view cameras a soon-to-be essential part of many drivers’ lives this week, as the administration has formally released a rule this Monday requiring that back visibility — via these cameras — be present for vehicle safety. From cars and small trucks to commercial vans and some buses, the Administration’s regulation will eventually result in a majority of regular vehicles having rear-view cameras installed to improve overall safety on the road. WVEC News reports this Tuesday, April 1, 2014, that all transportation vehicles under 10,000 pounds will be included in the new rule.

Photo of rear view camera in Lexus vehicle
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Photo File

According to the press release, the NHTSA rear view cameras regulation will thereby comprise cars from the most compact automobile to a big commercial ride. Although a number of reasons are behind this visibility rule, a major factor in its passing this Monday resulted from persistent protest from both consumers and family members devastated by back accidents (primarily children being run over on driveways and in parking lots).

Delays have run rampant since people first began voicing the idea for improved safety several years ago, but the NHTSA has said that consumer cries have not fallen on deaf ears. Officials now believe that this new regulation will eventually result in many lives saved as well as overall greater vehicle safety.

"We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of back-over accidents—our children and seniors," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a statement. "As a father, I can only imagine how heart wrenching these types of accidents can be for families, but we hope that today's rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents."

As part of the new NHTSA rear view camera parameters, all public vehicles that weigh under 10,000 pounds (basically including all people’s cars) will need to have cameras installed with greater visibility being granted to the driver — namely allowing them to see a 10 by 20 foot zone behind the vehicle in question. Smaller regulations include image size and clarity that result in rear-view cameras being the sole option to fulfill the requirement.

A 2010 report filed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration noted that an average of 228 victims are killed in fatal backup accidents every single year, with almost half of those deaths involving young children under the age of 5. The second age group with the greatest odds of being struck is the elderly.

It is believed that the new regulation will require vehicles to have rear-view, back visibility cameras established by 2018. Although the U.S. Congress passed such a law back in 2007 requesting that the Transportation Department create such a warning or safety rule in place, there have been delays up until this Monday preventing its finalization.

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