By on January 3, 2014

backup-camera

After several delays, on Dec. 25th, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration submitted a proposed revised regulation to the White House that could mandate automakers to equip cars and light trucks with backup cameras. According to Automotive News, the regulation will be part of new rear visibility standards for passenger vehicles sold in the U.S and the rationale for the backup cameras is to prevent children from being injured or killed by drivers that don’t see them behind their cars when traveling in reverse. NHTSA estimates that backup cameras would save about 100 lives a year.

No details on the planned standards have been released yet. Their submission to the White House was spotted on a White House database that tracks the rulemaking process. They could mandate cameras or may allow automakers to comply using redesigned mirrors or electronic sensors. The notice confirms what former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said last year, that the administration intends to release the final rule by January 2015.

The release of a final rule, part of implementing the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act, enacted in 2008, has been delayed four times since the original deadline at the end of 2011. Congressional backers of that legislation blame the delays on the White House, saying that it rejected NHTSA’s original 2010 proposal that would have required all new light vehicles to be sold with backup cameras by 2014. Since then, backup cameras have become more common as navigation screens capable of displaying a camera feed have proliferated. Some automakers have made backup cameras standard equipment on some models and in the case of Honda, across their entire U.S. lineup.

Still, many cars and light trucks are not available with the safety feature and auto safety advocates have pressed for the regulations. In September, Consumers Union, the advocacy wing of Consumer Reports magazine, filed a lawsuit to compel the Obama Administration to make backup cameras part mandatory. Scott Michelman, an attorney at the group Public Citizen, which supported the lawsuit, said at the time, “When Congress ordered this rule issued in three years, they meant three years, not seven.”

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147 Comments on “NHTSA Submits Rear Visibility Rule to White House, May Mandate Backup Cameras...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    No surprise here

    • 0 avatar

      I always wanted to see Navigation systems become standard features on cars, but even I recognize the “anti-business” aspect of forcing companies to put features in cars – thus increasing the price.

      A mandatory backup camera as standard will require either an LCD touchscreen or an LCD monitor hidden in the rear view mirror. Over time these screens have steadily decreased in price – and over time they will get even cheaper. Thing is, a backup camera is more expensive and in my opinion, not as effective as front and rear backup sensors with cross traffic warnings.

      I rarely use my rear view camera, but the audible warning is always effective for me. I LOVE front/rear backup sensors. I nearly backed into a pool with my Jeep that was offset and couldn’t see it in the view. My ultrasound KNEW it was there even when I didn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        redrum

        I have a Ford Fusion with back-up camera and rear-end/cross-traffic sensors, and I agree that it’s the sensors that are the most useful part. Sometimes they throw a false warning, which is when the back-up camera is useful to double-check, but otherwise I almost always rely strictly on the audio warning and basic old-fashioned head checks to make sure it’s clear. Before I had this I thought this kind of technology was just a “nice to have but probably meaningless”, but after using it for the past year, it’s a must have for any future purchases.

        I have several friends who have back-up cameras but NO sensor/audio warning system, and I don’t think it’s anywhere near as good a set up.

      • 0 avatar
        Tomifobia

        “I always wanted to see Navigation systems become standard features on cars”

        Why? So I can be stuck with a GD touch screen in my dash (which I despise) or so I can get reamed by the dealer every time the maps need updating? Thanks, no.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Thank you.
          I hate touch screens, last thing I need in a car is something I can’t control without feel and a quick glance.

          • 0 avatar
            Z71_Silvy

            The next billionaire will be the person that starts a car company that doesn’t have all of this health and safety garbage.

            I want to buy a vehicle with:

            -NO traction Control
            -NO tire pressure system
            -NO stability control
            -NO ABS
            -NO airbags
            -NO intrusive black boxes
            -NO stupid window switches
            -No stupid sensors that make noise
            -A big honking V8 that gets 10 MPG
            -RWD

            I don’t need any of this other crap. It’s unnecessary and something a competent driver does not need

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            Someone who has made billions is clearly smart enough to not start a company making products they can’t legally sell.

            “-NO traction Control”

            Sorry; mandatory since 2012MY per FMVSS 126

            “-NO tire pressure system”

            Sorry, mandatory since 2007MY per FMVSS 138

            “-NO stability control”

            Sorry; mandatory since 2012MY per FMVSS 126

            “-NO ABS”

            Sorry; required for stability control, effectively mandated by FMVSS 126

            “-NO airbags”

            Sorry; only practical way to meet FMVSS 208

            “-NO intrusive black boxes”

            say what?

            “-NO stupid window switches”

            Sorry, FMVSS 118 was amended to require protected window switches which prevent inadvertent closure of the windows.

            “I don’t need any of this other crap. It’s unnecessary and something a competent driver does not need”

            it’s well known that most people overestimate their driving skill.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Z71_Silvy

            Certainly won’t happen. Aside from the legal aspects, there are only 10 people in the world who would actually buy such a car new, and all of them are probably on this website.

            I have relatively Luddite tendancies when it comes to cars, and I even enjoy my classic cars. My Triumph Spitfire is little more complicated than a bicycle. But I would not have any interest in daily driving a car like you posit. I consider myself a decent driver. I can hold my own on an autocross track or a track day, but I do not have Baruthian talents by any stretch. I try to pay a great deal of attention to what I am doing when on a public road, and to not annoy other people. But I am also human. Sometimes I am tired, or not paying quite as much attention as I should, or am distracted. I have no problem with ABS and stability control being there to lend a hand once in a while. If some idiot who is NOT as attentive as me hits me, I certainly would like airbags. I don’t even have a problem with the tire pressure system – NOBODY checks their tires as often as they should. NOBODY. And even then, if you hit a nail driving down the road, nice to get a warning before the tire goes flat. I disabled the seatbelt bleepers on all of my cars, so I do agree with you on that one. No problem with the V8 either, mine gets 12.5 around town. RWD is just fine too, but I prefer a V8 with AWD. :-)

            So ultimately, just go buy whatever RWD BoF old American bomb you want and have it fully restored. Seems like you could have the old Panther or GM B or G body of your dreams for the price of a new Corolla. Just don’t crash it. But nothing like that will EVER be sold new again. Thank GOD.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Hey,Z71_Silvy, you don’t need a billionaire, you need a ’65 Buick

          • 0 avatar
            Z71_Silvy

            JZ:

            I get that. And it shows the insane level of overreach this government has.

            Thankfully, most of that garbage can be disabled.

            If the market wants it, let the market pay for it. If I don’t want that crap shoved down my throat, then give me that option.

            All those systems do is make people’s driving skills poorer and masks what road conditions are truly like.

            Without all of that crap, people would be BETTER drivers. They would be forced to be.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            “I get that. And it shows the insane level of overreach this government has.”

            ROFL. Find a government with less, and I’ll show you how it’s a libertarian paradise like Somalia.

            PROTIP: no nation on this planet will set product safety standards based on the wishes of a handful of self-absorbed “enthusiasts.”

          • 0 avatar
            Z71_Silvy

            There is your first mistake…..calling them safety standards.

            They only thing they do is make driving more dangerous.

            I have successfully driven RWD, V8 powered vehicles in Minnesota for some time. One with an open diff and no traction control. I have NEVER been stuck. I have never gone off the roadway. I have never crashed.

            I know exactly what my driving skills are. They are FAR better than most other on the road. Again, I do not need this mandated garbage. It’s just a scam.

            People that are for this kind of garbage clearly do not know how to drive. They need systems like this because their own driving skills are shit.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Whats the frequency of an update, does topography really change much?

  • avatar
    mikedt

    On the one hand I hate being forced into paying for technology I don’t want, but on the other hand with car companies designing cars with all the outward visibility of a coffin maybe backup cameras are necessary.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      NHTSA studied this, and found that backup cameras would be largely ineffective, with low bang for the buck. Nevertheless, Congress passed a law that NHTSA didn’t particularly want, and the agency has been stalling ever since.

      NHTSA understands that active safety doesn’t do much. A few lives will be saved, but for the most part, drivers will tune out or ignore the cameras and run over the kids, anyway. A camera can’t fix what causes most of this kinds of crashes.

      • 0 avatar
        Jimal

        And now for my totally anecdotal sample size of one story to back this up.

        Last September we attended a wedding and stayed the night at the home of friends who lived near where the wedding was held. When we arrived we parked our car in the turnout of our host’s driveway. The next morning, while we were eating breakfast one of our hosts excused himself to go run some errands, jumped into the brand-new Ford F-150 – complete with backup camera and parking sensors – in his garage, fired it up, and backed right out… into the back of our parked car.

        The truck did about $6000 to our almost-as-new 2013 Passat. Obviously embarrassed, the driver explained that while the alarms were going off, he didn’t recognize what was going on because 1) the truck was new to him and 2) nobody parks back there.

        ###

        Back up cameras are nice, but what I’d really like to see is something that will make it easier to see into my blind spots when I want to merge or change lanes, particularly to the left. The B and C pillars on cars these days are so thick that cranking your head around isn’t enough to see what is going on on the driver’s side because all you see is pillars. Blind spot detection systems are nice on the cars that offer them, but they aren’t the same as being able to see.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Safety researchers are rightfully skeptical of active safety because it doesn’t move the needle much.

          There will, of course, be instances when the cameras will raise awareness and save lives.

          But there will be other instances when the user of technology relies upon it too much and misses something, or ignores the message being provided, or doesn’t understand and fails to react to the input.

          When all of those are combined, you end up with few lives saved. Combine that with the high cost of the technology, and it results in a poor cost-benefit outcome.

          If the cameras cost just a few dollars, then sure, mandate them: that would be a cheap way to save some lives. But they aren’t nearly that cheap, which makes a camera mandate quite costly. That money could be better spent on something else that might do so some good.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          @Jimal – You can try adjusting your mirrors correctly ;-)

          If the mirror can’t be adjusted far enough to cover the left blindspot, some manufacturers offer convex mirrors. You could also try a cheap blind spot mirror.

    • 0 avatar
      mechimike

      I logged in precisely to say this. I hate the current trend of designing cars that make you feel like you’re in a cave, and it’s one of the biggest reason that I refuse to buy a new car. You can’t see out of them for crap. I have driven various newer rental cars, and hate their visibility unanimously. Mandating backup cameras on cars because they’ve been so poorly designed that the driver has no natural aft-ward visibility is a lot like mandating all smokers walk around with a giant bubble over their heads to contain the smoke.

      I understand that aerodynamics (in a quest for MPGs) largely drives styling these days, and is probably at least partially responsible for the horrible rearward visibility in a lot of cars, but by the same token I find it difficult to believe that car companies are incapable of designing a car that both cheats the wind and has good visibility.

      Otherwise, if current trends continue, we’ll all be driving what are basically tanks, with no windows, windscreen, or back glass, and only cameras to guide the way. Woe be unto thee who suffers an electrical malfunction.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        +1 more reason for less glass

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I believe crash requirements are driving the loss of visibility, not aerodynamics.

        • 0 avatar
          Type57SC

          I think he’s talking about the high rear deck lid thing. I hear that it is mostly aero. crash safety is the ugly 3-series nose and small glass to steel ratio on side doors

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            while the “Kamm” tail has been around for ages, it’s really been prevalent on vehicles where economy is the key (e.g. hybrids and EVs.) ‘s why the Volt concept looked so much different than the production car, which pretty much looks like a Prius in profile.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Sorry, but no. Consumers are driving the trend towards less visibility. Consumers who love their 300C and Camaro. Because they think it looks cool.

          My new Accord excels in every safety test, but still has great visibility. No wonder it is the best selling retail car.

          Choice rules. Markets win.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Really, or do consumers love their 300c and Camaros in spite of those liabilities? Seems most of the chat is against poor visability. I never hear “Man, my new Camaro is so cool, I can’t see a damn thing when driving”

          • 0 avatar
            Jimal

            The market “winning” manifests itself in people switching to CUVs for their (slightly) elevated driving position and (relatively) better visibility. Coupes and sedans are the dying form factors, due in some part I’m sure to their coffin-like visibility.

      • 0 avatar

        The general lack of visibility on current cars drives me crazy. Except for that (and the nasty seat belt/left-headlights-on beeper–I’d be fine with a gentler sound), I love my ’08 Civic (stick). But because of that, I’m very tempted to find myself a car with decent visibility. Drove my mechanic’s 1996 Impreza wagon yesterday while he was putting my snows on. The visibility was like trading portholes for picture windows.

        They should mandate decent visibility, not cameras.

        • 0 avatar

          Yep. a friend of mine got into my 77 Chevelle sedan and remarked that it might as well be a fishbowl due to all the glass it has. Even my 95 Explorer has excellent visibility, something that mom’s 04 Rendesvous lacks out the back.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        No, aerodynamics does NOT drive the current styling of cars, styling does, and the fact that people think they are safer in a coffin car. And it is cheaper to build cars that pass collision standards with high beltlines and massive pillars. From the ’60s to the ’90s plenty of cars were produced with airy greenhouses that were as or more aerodynamic than anything on sale today. Audi 100/5000 for example.

        It is time to start legislating visibility standards. This article is timely because I am driving a Buick Lacrosse this week which is a prime offender. Nice car, can’t see a darned thing out of it. Luckily it does have a camera, as otherwise you would need a spotter to back the thing up.

        • 0 avatar
          jz78817

          “It is time to start legislating visibility standards. ”

          we already have enough contradictory regulations, thank you. EPA mandates better fuel economy, but NHTSA mandates tougher crash standards which make cars bulkier and heavier, which makes meeting the EPA requirements harder. Now you want greater visibility regulations which will either make keeping NHTSA happy more difficult, or we’ll all be driving goofy bubble-roof Chrysler 200s.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            I don’t care as long as I can see out of the thing. You CAN have it all. You just can’t have it all for $20K. I’m OK with that. If you want a cheap car, buy a USED car.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The Homer was ahead of its time.

      • 0 avatar
        MadHungarian

        Right around that time, the car will also be driving itself, so it won’t matter anymore that we can’t see out of it.

      • 0 avatar
        jim brewer

        Thank-you Mechanic Mike. So its come to this? visibility is so bad we need closed circuit TV. Basically, visibility on cars is atrocious. I realize some of it is to meet roll-over standards or what have you, but I see plenty of cars where it is obvious there has been no attempt to preserve visibility.

        The editor is always polling us on what we want to see on this blog. I would say a paragraph on visibility should be an automatic part of any car review. Its even more important thatn whether the interior plastic is high class plastic or low class plastic.

      • 0 avatar
        SLLTTAC

        There doesn’t seem to be a correlation between good visibility, on the one hand, and safety and minimal fuel economy, on the other hand. Subaru, for example, seems to build highly rated, safe vehicles with big windows, such as the Forester, and with good fuel economy.

        I leased a 2012 Acura TL for two years and hated the restricted visibility. My 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee isn’t much better because of the wide A-pillars. I have driven late model Ford and GM sedans and felt as though I were in a tank. Sometimes I wish that I hadn’t sold my 1992 Subaru SVX, which had superb outward visibility.

        Do cars have small windows because steel is cheaper than glass?

        An inexpensive improvement to safety would be amber rear turn signals, as all countries outside of North America require.

        My Jeep has all the electronic safety bells and whistles, and, when they aren’t misbehaving, they are helpful, but I have learned not to rely on them because they are buggy.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yup. Our 2012 Grand Cherokee has a backup camera display that comes on whenever you put the car in Reverse, and we’ve never used it.

          It also has an on-board GPS NAV system, and we’ve never used it, preferring instead an el cheapo 4 yo Garmin that we can carry with us in our pocket, or even our smartphones.

    • 0 avatar
      jetcal1

      The current design trends causing this
      new mandate are the OEM response to
      Fed. Regulations for rollover, pedestrian impact, and mileage. The result? We end up
      with new requirements piled on. This is
      how DoD programs end up in cost overruns.
      But,here the consumer pays for it. I think I will coin a new phrase; The Government Regulatory Complex, or the GRC. And I bet
      the lobbyists are there already!

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        I hate to pluck the propellers off the tinfoil. The NHTSA is a civilian agency. DoD acquisitions are ran under a lifecycle acquisition plan. Many different things will factor into a DoD cost overrun; but none are what you cite. The DoD pays for its R&D and some spectacular failures and some really cool stuff. The NHTSA would have the manufacturers pay for their R&D before their devices are submitted for approval. The federal government has many different sources of funding for all of its agencies. So, no you can’t generalize and say it all comes from the same trough and blame it all on the “gubmint”. Learn to follow the money trails.

        • 0 avatar
          jetcal1

          Gee El Scotto,
          Please excuse my blunt reply. The cameras are syptom of other design features caused by new regulations and are an unintended consequence.
          I worked a program that took a stock tester of ours from $14k and a single person lift to $72K and two people to carry a up a shipboard ladder. The tester is used stock by several other DoD components and passed all EMI and RF requirements normally required for a flight deck. The navy gold plated it by adding extra shielding and redesign forcing new testing.

          And NRE is generally paid for by the government so they can own the data rights.
          My company will not accept NRE because we protect our proprietary designs. I would pleased to cite other examples.

          • 0 avatar
            el scotto

            Where the extra shielding and redesign done during R&D (we’ll make 6 pickle forks)or after the Testing and Evaluation (we’ll test the best pickle fork of the 6)phases? Or did someone from NAVAIR just say we want more stuff? That happens more than you would imagine and drives supplier and acquisition people nuts.

          • 0 avatar
            jetcal1

            El Scotto,
            Redesign was because the PM wanted to store accessories in the unit. We suggested a second storage case. ($200.00 to the Gov’t) he insisted inside the unit.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I in principal agree.

      In the name of passenger side impact protection the average car has the visibility of a ’49 Mercury chop top.

      Given that even near-base model B-segment cars today have full color screens of some kind in the dash, and a color digital camera is incredibly cheap these days – I have a “meh” attitude on this one.

      The screens are mostly there (and will almost surely be there completely within a few more years), the camera is cheap, the signals from the ECM/BCM are already there – this isn’t a heavy lifting or expensive request.

      Not a fan of the nanny nation but ehhhh, I don’t see this as big a deal as say requiring all cars to have laser cruise control systems and auto-braking.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Little stuff adds up, if you keep giving in a little eventually the amount increasingly given into, equates to a significant piece of pie

        • 0 avatar
          Ion

          So said the people who complained about 3 point belts, power steering, disc brakes, center consoles, power windows, AC, 3rd brake lamps, mac Pherson suspensions, etc etc

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            And…. They turned out to be correct….

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Some of those are important safety features and some of those are just convenience items that we’ve gotten used to. We’ll get used to the cameras too, but I’d rather have a car with better visibility

          • 0 avatar
            Ion

            They only turn out correct if you ignore inflation. A large orange juice at the mccdonalds near my job runs close to 3 dollars, to the best of my knowledge that OJ contains no center console to drive up that price.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            no, but it contains a lot of processing which makes it barely “orange” juice anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            That large orange juice is probably 50% petroleum – that’s why it’s so expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      Toshi

      Per Consumer Reports:

      http://consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/best-worst-visibility/index.htm?loginMethod=auto

      Best (visibility)

      Subaru Forester
      Infiniti G (sedan)
      Subaru Outback
      Nissan Altima

      Worst

      Mini Cooper S (convertible)
      Toyota FJ Cruiser
      Nissan Z
      Porsche Boxster
      Chevrolet Camaro

      I can attest that the 2014 Forester has excellent visibility.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Say good bye to small dashboards. Get used to hitting your knee on the oversized center console. I actually think this is a good idea, but each OEM in an effort to one-up the next guy are already in race to build the biggest in-dash screen(s) possible. This law would mean EVERY car gets a screen, so the only way for an manufacturer to stand out is by having a bigger screen then the dealer next door.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Not necessarily.

      There are screens that integrate into the rear view mirror, and some screens are small but perfectly fine for the camera. I have the base UVO system in my Soul and the screen is perfectly fine for the camera. Now if I bought the Navigation system then I would be with the 8″ screen.

  • avatar
    Atum

    It’s usually stupid parents who aren’t keeping an eye on their kids. That’s why so many kids get run over. Remember the clueless little boy with the Little Tikes car from the Infiniti commercial?

    Not all backup cameras are completely helpful. My mom’s 2012 RAV4 Limited has a backup camera in the mirror, and my mom or dad look back a lot and barely use the camera; they only use it to see if stupid little children are dancing behind the car.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Not only would it save 100 lives, it would save money on property damage as well. Modern cameras work well at night as well as day. In my minivan, I can see passably behind me in the daytime, but nighttime visibility behind is miserable., mostly due to the rear window tinting.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      If the cameras were 100% effective, they would save 100 lives. In practice, I would expect less than 50% effectiveness. That’s about $25M per life saved.

      People support this, but oppose helmet laws? It boggles the mind.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        There’s the save-thyself aspect: a guy who doesn’t wear a helmet will kill himself if he gets into an accident, but a guy who doesn’t know what’s behind his car will run over someone else.

  • avatar
    ixim

    Can’t come soon enough. Even in the rare cars with good rear visibility, the extra view is more insurance against hitting something (or someone). We all occasionally back up too fast. I’d settle for the audible warning as a choice, though.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Back up cameras can’t replace spatial awareness or good outward visibility. When people rely on them, their flaws become apparent. Just the other day someone backing out of my long driveway ended up headlamps up in the ditch accross the street while relying on the camera. He should have turned around and went out forward like everyone else does, but became too confident in his gizmo and didn’t see the drop off until it was too late.

    A mandate isn’t needed, the cameras are popular enough as it is. Encouragement of good driving practices and good outward visilibility is needed. The econobox driver shouldn’t be forced to pay for a feature he does not want.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      “A mandate isn’t needed, the cameras are popular enough as it is. Encouragement of good driving practices and good outward visilibility is needed. The econobox driver shouldn’t be forced to pay for a feature he does not want.”

      I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • 0 avatar
      Elena

      Agree 100% with you. I dealt with backup cameras and have yet to find one with good low light performance. Still the person behind the wheel believes he/she knows what’s behind. Saw one hit a rock. Really hard, vehicle bumped on it. After the fact turned out it was too small and too close to camera lens to be seen.

    • 0 avatar
      Type57SC

      You’re going to be really pissed when they implement a Japan-view next. I think that’s what they car the side facing cameras at the fron and/or rear that show oncoming traffic.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’m aware of a few automakers developping multi angle cameras for the US market. They will help with spatial awareness better than a single backup camera will, but at the same time increase cost where a backup camera in conjuction with physically looking and cheking mirrors will do just as well or better.

        I’m not opposed to cameras being offered at all. I’m opposed to them being mandated.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      No amount of technology would help this person:

      youtube.com/watch?v=tf4TIWECZ30

      (The commentary is not quite safe for work.)

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      I’m generally against mandates, but here’s what’s happened without one: if you want a backup camera on a Mazda3, you have to go up two trim levels. If it’s the only option you wanted, it’ll essentially cost you $4,300.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The horror. If someone really wanted the backup cam as a stand alone option on their stripper econobox, they can be added in the aftermarket for a few hundred bucks.

        Mazda clearly found that offering the cam as standard wasn’t cheap enough for price conscious buyers and it wasn’t cost effective enough to offer as a stand alone option. Why should economy consumers and Mazda have to suffer because the few who want this single feature in a stripper can’t get their way?

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Not owning a vehicle so-equipped, I shall have to press on using…my neck.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Odds are pretty good that a lot of these accidents happen due to kids running ACROSS the backup path, not sitting stationary IN the backup path.

    If that hypothesis is correct, then reliance on a backup camera could worsen the problem. I have yet to see a backup camera that has the field of vision or resolution of a rearview mirror (or THREE mirrors)…or actually turning around and looking.

    I would be much happier with the simple, less intrusive audible beeping systems that don’t require big TV screens and can be easily integrated into your daily routine of using mirrors or turning around. I’ve used both and don’t see any incremental improvement in using both audible AND cameras at the same time.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      “Odds are pretty good that a lot of these accidents happen due to kids running ACROSS the backup path, not sitting stationary IN the backup path.”

      This echoes my experience. Some time ago, my wife was backing out her 1997 Odyssey. The driveway was clear. But we had our dog in the back, and that attracted the neighborhood kid. She was young, didn’t know better, and ran into the path of our Odyssey to say hi to the dog.

      The dog barked. My wife hit the brakes. Accident avoided. +1 for audible alerts.

      On a recent vacation, we rented the Nissan 2013 QashQai (known as Rogue in the U.S.). It had an audible alert system which was annoying at first, but overall, quite workable.

  • avatar
    redav

    About 300 people per year die from being backed over by cars. More people die each year by falling out of bed.

    Per the NHTSA’s own estimates, requiring back up cameras would increase the price of new cars by a bit over $100/car. (Many cars already have them, so while the systems cost a few hundred, the average is less.) Given that there are 15M+ cars sold per year, it works out to somewhere near $17M spent per life saved. (The NHTSA agrees on that value.)

    I’m all for safety, but I don’t believe that’s a good use of the money. There are lower hanging fruits out there.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Why do you hate the Children???

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        “Oh come on Edna, we both know these children have no future!”
        (awkward looks from students)
        “Prove me wrong, kids. Prove, me, wrong!”

      • 0 avatar
        CrapBox

        If we remain unregulated, all of our Children will “get” spina bifida: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYOIbXJTVIc)

        -

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I don’t hate children. I find them quite tasty in a light wine sauce.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        > Why do you hate the Children???

        Trust me, it’s not the Children I have an issue with. It’s the ADULTS that they take after:

        The late, great George Carlin said it best:

        “Now, speaking of parents and speaking of bullshit, two ideas that aren’t always mutually exclusive, by the way, I’d like to mention a special kind of bullshit that has taken hold in this country in the last thirty to forty years. It’s a form of bullshit that really can only be called “child worship”. It’s child worship. It’s this excessive devotion to children.”

        “I’m talking about today’s professional parents, these obsessive diaper sniffers who are overscheduling and overmanaging their children and robbing them of their childhoods.”

        “Even the simple act of playing has been taken away from children, and put on mommy’s schedule in the form of “play dates”. Something that should be spontaneous and free is now being rigidly planned. When does a kid ever get to sit in the yard with a stick anymore?”

        “You know? Just sit there with a f****** stick. Do today’s kids even know what a stick is?”

        “You sit in the yard with a f****** stick… and you dig a f****** hole. You know?”

        “And you look at the hole, and you look at the stick… and you have a little fun. But kids don’t have sticks anymore. I don’t think there are any sticks left; I think they’ve all be recalled because of lead paint!”

        “Who would have thought that one day, the manufacturing of sticks would outsourced to China?”

        “Isn’t this really just a sophisticated form of child abuse?”

        “And speaking of that, speaking of child abuse, next up: GRADE SCHOOL! Grade school, where he won’t be allowed to play tag because it encourages victimization.”

        “And he won’t be allowed to play dodgeball because it’s exclusionary, and it promotes aggression. Standing around is still okay.”

        “Standing around is still permitted, but it won’t be for long, because sooner or later some kid is going to be standing around and his foot will fall asleep, and his parents will sue the school, and it will be goodbye f****** standing around!”

    • 0 avatar
      Frankie the Hollywood Scum

      Exactly. In 2010 the CDC lists 37,332 deaths under the motor vehicle category. The data I can find on people being backed over and expiring is 288 per year. Each one is tragic but with 3,782 deaths in 2010 due to drowning that money would be better spent hiring lifeguards or handing out water wings.

    • 0 avatar

      Shhh… don’t bring up the falling out of bed thing, or they will start requiring that all beds have a net around them, or nerf bars, or some sort of sensor if you roll too close to the edge.

  • avatar
    Ion

    I do hope the provision that allows the sensors stays in. I didn’t opt for the backup camera despite having Navigation because it meant having to spend another 900 for the camera and another 1500 for the package with the spoiler to house the camera. The reverse sensors only cost 500 and came with the alarm. The sensors were well worth that 500.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Having owned minivans and currently owning an SUV, I can see how a backup camera would, in theory, be useful. However, all of these vehicles had/have good outward visibility, unlike a lot of cars these days.

    But, the biggest problem with the backup camera is that, in order to use it, you are NOT looking where you are going. The field of view of backup cameras is not particularly wide, so their use means that you do NOT see an object (e.g. a kid or a dog) running into the vehicle’s path until it is already there, giving you less time to react.

    The best use I can see for backup cameras is for hitching up a trailer.

    Save 100 kids a year? Seriously? Look up the stats for, say, swimming pools, bicycles and, apparently, falling out of bed.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Most of the vehicles that could use back up cameras are the latest CUV’s and small hatchbacks. They all seem to have that upswept belt line resulting in extremely small rear quarter windows and rear hatch windows. This is solely a styling decision that is easily fixed. Since this styling trend had pretty much infected every brand, a simple mandate for a certain amount of glass area on vehicles should do the trick. I remember back in the day Honda used to tout the degrees of outward visibility of their cars. Maybe its time to get back to that before we add some more electronic doodads to already complex vehicles.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I am one of those who simply feels this is not the government’s job to mandate such things…

    But beyond that, I view this as really silly for several reasons, even beyond the costs involved.

    First, when backing up, you should look behind you or in mirrors… And where are the camera screens? In an area that requires you to face the front of the car. Even if in the rear view mirror.

    Second, beepers are FAR more effective in my experience. You back up the normal way, mirrors and looking backwards. But tells you quickly if anything is there. And for cheaper.

    Still don’t like a mandate, but audible beepers far far better in my opinion…

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I need a front facing camera, then I wouldn’t have to freeze my kiester off scraping the windshield when it is cold.

  • avatar
    dmw

    I don’t care if you have a 1980 CVCC, you can’t see a toddler right behind you in your mirrors. Better visibility is not a solution to the problem addressed by the policy. (We installed a camera in my wife’s Passat Wagon, which has very good backwards visibility, for this reason.)

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The government should be mandating that drivers pay attention, versus requiring expensive equipment on cars that are expensive enough already.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Knew it, these people get off on making new ways to hurt consumers.

  • avatar
    ash78

    But you can’t have cars that get 68 miles to the gallon and NOT have a long, raked rear end! Plus, how else are we going to make a bunch of weak FWD cars look manly without tall rear quarters and small windows? That sells cars, and frankly, selling cars is far more important than a few dead kids. Practically speaking.

    Oh, I’m sorry Mr. Senator, I didn’t realize the mic was on.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “rear visibility standards for passenger vehicles sold in the U.S”

    Soooooooo… does that mean you’ll be able to see out of cars again NHTSA?

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    Just as with seatbelt laws, I’m sticking by my standards:

    It’s none of the Government’s business to *mandate* them – though at least for practical purposes it’s Constitutional, since all cars, effectively, move in Interstate Commerce.

    Equally, I like them and use them; I always wear my seatbelt, and I put a backup camera in my F-250 because it’s a monster.

    I wouldn’t buy a new car without one – but that’s not justification for making Every Car More Expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      (Also, in reply to other comments, the beeping backup sensors *are nice*, but a camera is very handy, too. I want both.

      Beepers aren’t as useful for random, suicidal pedestrians who think walking behind a large truck in the process of reversing is a Good Idea – the camera’s wide view angle lets them be seen before the reverse sensors activate, in my experience.

      Likewise they’re useful for detecting false positives in areas you just can’t see in the mirrors or directly; this is more of a problem in a big truck with cargo in the bed – my use case – than other vehicles, but it’s real.)

      • 0 avatar
        Elena

        I also have a hard time reversing because of all the stuff I carry. I tried with a very loud alarm engaged while reversing. At best it was ignored by pedestrians (I suspect they were attracted to it, but I might be wrong). Rear view camera was lousy in low light, replaced for CCD sensor with cranked up gain and fish eye lens, then added 150W in halogen lights (which implied adding relays, wiring and fuses) at both sides of the truck so I could see them BEFORE they were in my path… All in vain. Guess what works best? Reverse in steps. Make your truck jump, gas then brake, stomp on it… I guess they think I’m learning to drive but it’s what works best for me. It also deters cats and dogs. Useless with ducks and turtles, though.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    The camera is handy but there are a few flaws:

    1. During the winter months the salt spray completely covers the lens…rendering it completely useless.

    2. Although the reverse lights are bright, it’s still dark back there at night. So it’s not like you can see everything.

    People are thinking they don’t need to look backwards when using it…”I’ll just look at the screen”…. Case in point: The salesman tried to back the car (Soul) out of a tight space by using the camera…he almost ripped the mirrors off.

  • avatar

    $50 per camera * 10000000 cars sold / 100 lives saved = $5,000,000 per life. Is this the most cost effective way to save lives?

    I agree with folks that said sensors are better. It’s rather hard to safely look over your shoulder and look at your back-up camera at the same time. Granted for life saving it’s that first glance at the camera that will make the most difference prior to moving the vehicle, but sensors would work here too and be less distracting for the remainder of the reverse process.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    There will always be morons out there that will get into trouble regardless of the number of safety devices installed.

    I like the backup camera and sensors on my pickup but it is an adjuvant to mirrors, eyes, ears, nose, touch and proprioception. It all fails if the brain isn’t doing what it is supposed to be doing.

    It is a tool that one needs to learn to work with.

    My only real complaints about the system is that inclement weather obscures the camera. The same thing occurs to bumper mounted sensors. Anyone living where there is snow will find the sensors/camera are easily obscured. The same thing happens if one drives on wet gravel roads.

    I do like the devices and they make operating a 20 ft long pickup much easier. I would definately look at buying another vehicle with it. My wife’s mini-van would be a prime candidate for a camera/sensor combo. It has small mirrors and the egg shape makes seeing the back corners more difficult.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    I almost want them to mandate backup cameras. If you aren’t going to give me windows worth a damn, give me a backup camera, and not as part of a $4,000 nav/sound/sunroof package. Those options packages drive me nuts.

    I also wish they’d find a way to mount the screen somewhere behind the front seats so you’d see it while looking towards the back of the car, but I realize that’s just dreaming.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Interesting. Not a single poster noticed that the Obama administration has repeatedly been deferring this rule. I guess it doesn’t fit well with the “he looks different so let’s paint him as a socialist liberal who wants to take our freedoms away” mantra.

  • avatar
    Joss

    They’re handy if you back into an underground parking space like me. I find mine hard to use in the summer because there’s too much glare on the screen you can’t see it. Particularly if you’re wearing sunglasses because the lenses of your glasses don’t transition due to the UV coat in tinted glass. I suggest mandate a pull out cowl around the screen for the summer months.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    One possible side effect of this regulation is that the car makers will stop making any effort at preserving the rear visibility in their designs (non camera-based)

  • avatar

    Glanced at the whole page and no one mentioned three-mirror backing. Maybe we do need more nannies.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    ..and only Elena mentioned external reversing beepers though she didn’t think they work. They have been mandated (here in Oz) and work fine on larger trucks and tractors. I suspect that the average driver might be embarrassed about generating noise but they are VERY cheap and seem to be effective. If you must mandate something, how about something simple and reliable like these?

    • 0 avatar
      Elena

      Embarrassing it can be. Once at a Walmart parking lot late at night I reversed into a parking space. As soon as the beeping started like ten teens formed a group right behind me. They never crossed the lines of the spot I chose but there they were just looking at my truck like it was on TV. When I got out they clapped, all at the same time. My mom was with me and we both were puzzled at the reaction. Guess they used too much of some substance for recreational purposes. Without the sound I doubt they would gather there. My point was when a pedestrian feels like getting in your path no sound will deter him/her from doing so. I had people walking dogs, with children… they just give me a hostile look while walking slower than ever. I know I must stop but they don’t understand I might not see them. I’ll go to jail, true, but they will be dead (or wishing they were).

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        “My point was when a pedestrian feels like getting in your path no sound will deter him/her from doing so.”

        Oh, but I respectfully disagree. Look up “train horn pranks” on YouTube.

        • 0 avatar
          Elena

          I have air horns installed. Never use them at highway speeds, with old drivers around or pedestrians. Reserved for those applying make up (wait until pencil meets eye/mouth for best results), morons blocking intersections or those failing to move when the light turns green: I start with factory horn, once disregarded… They might jump forward, invade the next lane, blink like something got into their eyes: Unpredictable. Guess that’s why they’re not street legal. I laughed at the pranks, but I would never film my own: I’m bothered by my own noise. One of them honks at a covered parking! I did that once to wake up a valet I was unable to locate and had my keys and it was painful. Literally.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I see that the potential benefit of avoiding the deaths of pets and reduced property damage have been lost in the discussion – apparently, these side-benefits are small enough that the insurance industry seems to have no interest in this (which would take the form of discounts for cars so-equipped).

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    A few things…

    1) This is more about lowering insurance payments for accidents than saving lives.

    2) We may look at the mid-2000′s as a prime era that merged modern technologies with driver friendly designs. If you sit in a car from just eight years ago versus now, the differences are striking. It’s also worthy to note that a lot of automatic transmissions and catalytic converters at that time were far less expensive to replace. CVT’s and advanced catalytic converters are going to be the bane of those drivers who want to keep their vehicles for the long haul.

    3) My wife drives a 12 year old vehicle with a screen and happens to have excellent visibility (02 Prius), while I decided to take a 15 year old car on a recent road trip that has abysmal visibility (99 Solara). The issue I have with mandating screens is that I think smartphones, tablets and phablets will be able to replace them within the next few years. I think consumers will prefer to simply have a screen that they can take everywhere, just as they do now.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      ” The issue I have with mandating screens is that I think smartphones, tablets and phablets will be able to replace them within the next few years. I think consumers will prefer to simply have a screen that they can take everywhere, just as they do now.”

      This is so true, with the rapid advances of software and hardware in-dash screens are going to be so woefully out of date in such a short time. It’s like having a Commodore 64 stuck in your dash. All cars need is a plug-in cradle for your whatever that you can easily update and upgrade.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      > 1) This is more about lowering insurance payments for accidents than saving lives.

      Ding! Ding! Ding! Well done, sir!

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    I think Congress and the NHTSA are now chasing diminishing returns with the backup camera mandate. It’s gee-whiz technology but the cost-benefit ratio doesn’t add up. It’s not worth mandating.

    Now my wife loves the backup camera (I’m dubious about it’s utility myself) and has her own mandate – her next vehicle will have one no matter what.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      This isn’t really coming out of NHTSA. This was a law passed by Congress (unaminously by the Senate) and signed by George W Bush.

      NHTSA’s research concludes that the cameras aren’t worth the cost. The agency under Obama has been dragging its feet in implementing it. It’s not up to NHTSA to refuse outright; the agency can only stall, which is exactly what it has been doing.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Somebody get these lawmakers a calculator, please.

    If 100 lives are worth millions of dollars each, then there isn’t enough ink to print enough money to cover 1/10 of the cost of saving every life lost to car accidents, cancer, stroke, heart disease and wild elephants running through living rooms on the fourth of July.

    As for the argument that it will reduce property damage claims, in my 30 years of driving all those cameras and LCD screens might have saved me one dented garbage can.

    Let’s call this what it is: A gadget craze wrapped in a social engineering fantasy, funded by clueless voters.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    A nice backup camera works really well..

    #1. They are wide angle – so that you catch what is going on to the sides as well.

    #2. They have lines that show you where you car is going when you back up. That makes parking easier.

    #3. They have a system that shows you exactly how close you can get to the back of another car..

    I don’t care what of car you have – or how great your visibility is – you will have a hard time beating a backup camera.

    All the luddites in this thread just haven’t used a car that does a good job with the system..

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    Our Infiniti G37 came with the nav/rear cam package, but I don’t use much of either. Although one really nifty and well implemented feature is the back-in parking guiding lines. I use it for back-in parking and it makes it easy and I don’t have to scoot in and out several times because I can now always line up straight the first time.

  • avatar
    tbone33

    We are paying a high price for high belt-lines.

    How about a reasonable regulation like “if visibility isn’t at least x, then a backup camera is needed”? It is silly to say a Miata requires a backup camera.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Convertibles with the top down have no blind spots, but with the top up, they do have lots of blind spots and could benefit from a rear view camera. Still, I’ve learned from these comments that a rear view camera, while a nice feature, is not something that should be mandated.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Being that my ’13 Malibu suffers from the same “Elevated Rump Syndrome” as most new cars, I appreciate the backup camera. Even someone as tall as me *cannot* see thru the high decklid.
    I’ve just learned to use all 3 mirrors *and* the video screen to cover 95% of the area behind the car when backing. It’s also very handy when backing into my small, overstuffed garage – I can routinely back in within 2″ of the shelving in the rear of the garage (no tennis ball required).
    Since I live in “the burbs”, I have yet to try using if for parallel parking, but I’d be willing to bet that it helps.

  • avatar
    celebrity208

    So, Here in VA we have annual “safety” inspections. If a camera or screen stops working will the car fail the “safety” inspection? The “safety” inspection requires that all safety related systems on the car work. For example, if my ’98 A4 has the AirBag or ABS light on… FAIL. Never mind I still have a working seat belt and never mind that there are people out there driving cars that never had an AirBag or ABS.
    So when the 3rd owner rolls around and the screen has since displayed its last pixel will that presumably financially constrained individual be compelled to fork over $$$ to fix it? Probably.
    In my opinion, this is BS.

  • avatar
    ixim

    This horse may have died, but I must add this – My 2013 Equinox lacks both a camera and a beeper. Backing up to park requires me to unbuckle my seat belt in order to see even the partially blocked view available. Narrow windows and fat pillars are the stylish culprits. I haven’t hit anything yet, and I’d prefer a beeper to a distracting screen, but this is ridiculous. Of course, by the time theses systems are mandated, tall greenhouses will be back in style, solving this avoidable problem.


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