NHTSA Postpones Back-Up Camera Requirement Rule

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
nhtsa postpones back up camera requirement rule
Thanks to a flood of about 200 comments, NHTSA has delayed final rulemaking for its requirement that all vehicles sold in the US must have back-up cameras. Automotive News [sub] reports the vehicle safety agency released a statement sayingThe public comment period on this safety proposal only recently closed, and NHTSA will be asking Congress for additional time to analyze public comments, complete the rulemaking process and issue a final ruleBut don’t expect NHTSA to drop the proposed rule. An analyst watching the regulatory process tells AN thathe expects the rule to be tweaked to include testing for illumination at night and the time it takes the picture to appear on the display. Overall, though, he said there shouldn’t be any major changes that would cause the ruling to be enacted later than September.The agency says the cheapest option is to connect the camera to a vehicle’s existing video screen at a cost of $58 to $88. Equipping a vehicle that doesn’t already have a screen would cost $159 to $203At an industry-wide cost of $1.9b-$2.7b, that comes to some $20m per life saved (assuming cameras will actually prevent back-up “accidents”). Want to guess what most of those 200 comments have to say about the proposal? Seriously, though, we can only find one
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  • Geozinger Geozinger on Feb 28, 2011

    I've driven a couple of SUV's with back up cams, and a van or two with the backup sensors, each has their advantages and drawbacks. The latest SUV I drove was a GMC Acadia and it definitely needed some additional way of seeing behind the truck. Even though I turned around and used the mirrors as an extra measure of seeing what was going on behind me, the little display in the rear view mirror was an advantage. My father in laws Freestar with the back up sensors have limited utility, but I suppose it's better than nothing. With long bodied vehicles like vans and SUVs, it's pretty hard to see what's happening back there without some additional electronic help. Even with cars, I would like to have some 'thing' additional beyond craning my neck and checking the mirrors. The way cars are designed these days, the high tail is great for luggage, lousy for visibility. Now, should it be mandated? Yes. We have all kinds of other safety related devices mandated on our cars and this seems a lot less expensive to implement than some of the other ones. Going forward, the population in the US will be getting older and will need all of the assistive technology help they can get.

  • Carve Carve on Feb 28, 2011

    I HATE it when they mandate a particular technology. If they're concerned with people backing into things, there should be visibility requirements only. For example, "90th percentile driver must be able to detect a two foot tall object 15' behind the car. Whether this is done with bigger windows, lower trunk, backup camera, backup sensors, mirrors, or whatever should be up to the manufacturer. Visibility really has gotten awful. My Cherokee is an absolute wonder of visibility. All four corners are super easy to place- no problem to park within a couple inches of something on any side of the car. My 3-series is awful. When I back into a parking spot, I have to open the door and stick my head out to place the car accruately. Pulling forward into a spot, I once got curb-rash on my bumper since you can't accurately place it. And the 3-series is one of the BETTER cars these days!

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    • Philosophil Philosophil on Feb 28, 2011

      In this particular case I think this is a very good suggestion. I see no good reason why a Volvo C30 needs to have a back-up camera.

  • ChuckR ChuckR on Feb 28, 2011

    Another example of the DOT's multiple personality disorder. Ray LaHood bleats about distracted driving and his minions suggest a system that most likely will be integrated with a touchscreen for nav and entertainment - surely an important nexus for distracted driving actions. Left hand, meet right hand. Here's an idea - provide an alternative via standards for outward visibility. Take your pick, cameras or inherently good visibility. I find that these things called windows are quite useful for seeing out of, whether installed in a house or a vehicle. Maybe we could get a return to decent greenhouses from the gunslits we see now. And how about drilling into people's heads the current recommendations for setting outside mirrors. If you can see your fender you are doing it wrong. It works and you can get a panoramic view backwards from the outside and rearview mirrors - provided you have a decent rear window. Hey, add dipping mirrors too - got to be cheaper than a camera system.