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Can Rearview Cameras Curb Backover Accidents?

In 2007, Congress approved legislation imposing new standards for rear visibility in cars. The aim of the legislation was to eliminate blind spots on cars that hide pedestrians, kids, animals, the elderly and objects behind vehicles. Improving rear visibility was and is an important priority, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reporting that 100 kids ages 5 and under die each year in backover or backup crashes. More than half of the children who die in these types of accidents are under one year of age.

Unfortunately, as The Car Connection reports, no progress has been made on implementing the legislation since 2007. Our Boston auto accident attorneys urge NHTSA to take action and urge carmakers to start taking steps to reduce the dangers of backover crashes by improving rear visibility.30847_top_gear.jpg

Rearview Cameras May Be the Answer
As The Car Connection indicated in a January 4th article, NHTSA had imposed a December 31st deadline to take action on new visibility rules to comply with the Congressional mandate. Unfortunately, NHTSA missed this deadline in 2012 for the fourth time. The first time NHTSA missed the deadline was back in February of 2011 when they were supposed to have established rules for 10 percent of 2012 cars.

One problem that is causing NHTSA to continue to delay and miss deadline is that there is significant pushback from car manufacturers. NHTSA believes that the new rear-visibility standards could be met by making use of rearview cameras. If rearview cameras were added to all cars, the blind spot could be eliminated and accidents could be prevented.

The new mandate for rearview cameras would be implemented over time. The current suggestion is that 40 percent of new vehicles would need rearview cameras by September 2013 and 100 percent of new vehicles would need to be in compliance by September of 2014. If all new cars had cameras, NHTSA believes that backover accident deaths and injuries would both be significantly reduced.

Carmakers, however, are concerned about the cost. NHTSA estimates that adding the cameras to cars with existing display screens would cost between $58 and $88. Adding the cameras to cars with no display screens would cost between $159 and $203 per car. Automakers, however, have reportedly expressed concerns about these costs.

There is currently no word about whether there will be further delays or whether NHTSA’s proposal will go into effect. Their proposal has not yet been approved and, according to the Car Connection, was under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget as of January 4, 2013.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in the Greater Boston area, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC for a free consultation. Call 1-877-617-5333.