February 29, 2012
US Government May Require Rear View Camera On All cars
Running over people in a car can be a very traumatic experience, especially if the victim is a beloved child or elderly parent.
Government regulators report that as many as 112 deaths and 8,374 injuries could be avoided by eliminating the large blind spot at the rear of the car. Two-hundred twenty-eight people die every year in back-over accidents, 44 percent of whom are under the age of 5, whereas 17,000 people are injured in such accidents according to government statistics.To help in reducing the numbers of back-over accidents, federal regulators are set to announce that automakers will be required to install rear-view cameras in all passenger vehicles by 2014, reports the New York Times.
Over the years cars have been filled with safety features, including airbags for front and rear passengers, and the third brake light. These features have helped in reducing the driver's view in the rear of the car. According to Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing at Edmunds.com, “Over time, beltlines have risen, and the glass has gotten a little smaller in the interest of safety. There´s certainly been a lot of attention paid to safety, but visibility hasn´t necessarily been limped in the same way.”
The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration predicts that the new regulations will cost the auto industry as much as $2.7 billion a year. This will add a cost of $160 to $200 per vehicle, with some of the cost expected to be passed on to the consumer.
Rear-view cameras began appearing in high-end automobiles about a decade ago, usually included as part of an in-dash navigation package that can cost some consumers up to $7,000 above the base model. Manufacturers are not adverse to including the feature in their products, only on the technical aspects that the new requirements allow.
According to USA Today, one major hurdle is how fast the camera image should appear when the driver shifts the car into reverse. Regulators want the image to appear in about one second, while automobile manufacturers want to allow up to three seconds for the image to appear while the system goes through a “boot up”.
Consumer and safety groups are siding with the government on how fast the camera turns on. David Champion, who heads Consumer Reports, says: “You want to see immediately what´s behind you. Unfortunately some of the manufacturers put logos up on the screen, or you have to turn the radio on to have the backup camera work. It should work every time you put it in reverse and it should come on before you back up.”
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