Efforts to require vehicles to have rear view cameras finally paid off, resulting in a ruling that all new vehicles must have rear view cameras installed by the year 2018. This comes after controversy and debate over the proposed requirement which lasted for several years.
The Rear View Camera Debate
In 2012, The New York Times reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “is expected to send a final version of the rule to Congress…” regarding a proposal to mandate that all new vehicles must have rear view cameras.
The problem with that is that the proposed ruling was made in 2010 and the final proposal was to be sent to Congress in 2012, to require all new vehicles to have rear view cameras by 2014. That fell through and the debate continued. Rumors surfaced that the several delays were caused by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Digital Trends also said, in 2013, that “NHTSA Administrator David Strickland says there are a number of things to consider before mandating the legislation, which would reportedly cost the auto industry $1.9 billion to $2.7 billion” on an annual basis. The debates still continued.
Reasoning Behind Stressing the Need
While there have been many advocates for requiring rear view cameras on all vehicles, Kids and Cars has been one of the biggest. Telling tragic stories has probably been difficult and yet, most likely seen as necessary when attempting to get lawmakers to listen to the importance of rear view cameras. Kids and Cars says that “Every year, thousands of children are killed or seriously injured because a driver backing up didn’t see them.” Not only that, but that in the United States, at least 50 children are backed over every week, with an average of 48 of them being treated in the emergency room and two children in the U.S. dying every single week after being run over when a vehicle backed over them. Even more tragic, “in over 70% of these incidents, a parent or close relative is behind the wheel” of the vehicle, which in 60% of the cases is a larger vehicle, such as an SUV, truck or van. Many of the children killed and seriously injured are pictured on the site.
The incidence of children being backed over and killed has spanned decades and continues today. In 1993 in Los Angeles, California, the Los Angeles Times reported that 27 year-old Gary Zavala was screaming and holding his dying 2 year-old son after backing over him. The toddler died of massive head trauma and other injuries. In Fremont Ohio in 2013, Toledo News Now reported that a one-year old had died after being backed over by his father who did not see the child. Police in Louisiana offered tips for drivers, through The Blaze, to avoid tragic back-overs after a father was stopped for speeding while rushing his four year old son to the hospital after backing over him. Sheriffs broke the news to the father that his son was already gone.
Yet, with as many serious injuries and deaths as these, the debate over requiring rear-view cameras continued.
Finally a Requirement Law
On Monday, March 31, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that all new vehicles, which will include not only cars, but also larger vehicles such as trucks and busses, will be required to have rear-view cameras. KARE-11 displayed details that USA Today explained that although the requirement takes full effect in 2018, there will be a “phase-in” beginning with vehicles manufactured for 2016. One family expressed their joy over the new law, after their own child was killed when his father backed over him in the driveway. FOX4-WDAF-TV in Kansas City quoted Benjamin Thompson, who had just checked on his son seconds before, but apparently did not see his son get behind the vehicle, as saying “I laid on top of him for 20 minutes, screaming my head off until paramedics ripped me off of him.”
Drivers Do Not Have to Wait to Get Rear View Cameras
Drivers do not have to wait and buy a new vehicle to be able to take advantage of having a rear view camera which will enable them to see what and who may be behind the vehicle. For a cost that may be far less than many drivers may assume, vehicles can have a rear view camera installed. It is usually “a few hundred dollars,” according to the FOX article, but it can be done for even less. Several stores where electronics and automobile accessories are usually purchased carry rear view cameras as do some on-line websites. It is imperative to make sure you are getting what will truly protect you from accidents that may injure or kill someone. So make sure that you are buying from a reputable retailer or on-line site. It may be better to have a reliable professional to do the installation to prevent errors that may be more costly if you do not install it right yourself.
Educating Drivers about True Rear View Blind Zones
Consumer Reports gives drivers crucial information regarding their “blind zone,” which may be much larger than drivers may assume. Blind zones for numerous vehicles have been included in the report in efforts to educate drivers.
Why it has taken lawmakers so long to pass the law mandating rear view cameras to be installed on vehicles is a debate that may continue long after the law goes in to full effect. There is no doubt, given statistics and evidence that seems to support the benefits, that the law is one that can save hundreds of lives and prevent critical injuries to hundreds more, on an annual basis.