Rearview cameras could become more common in future cars and trucks under new rules the government was proposing this week to address concerns about backover accidents.
The Department of Transportation offered new requirements to improve rear visibility in cars by the 2014 model year, which most carmakers would meet by installing rear-mounted video cameras and in-vehicle displays.
Targeting so-called blind zones in large sport utility vehicles and pickups, Congress required the safety upgrades in 2008 in response to dozens of cases of children getting backed over by cars. Nearly 300 people are killed and 18,000 injured each year because of backovers, according to data kept by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly half of the deaths involve children under age 5.
Automakers have been adding video cameras and object detection sensors to vehicles to help drivers when backing up or parking. But the backup cameras are still optional equipment on most vehicles and only about 20 percent of 2010 vehicles have the cameras onboard.
Under the plan, 10 percent of the vehicle fleet will need to meet the standards by the 2012 model year, followed by 40 percent in 2013 and all new vehicles by 2014.
The rules will apply to all passenger cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans and other vehicles weighing up to 10,000 pounds.
[via The Detroit News]
Photo courtesy of Jeff Wilcox and re-used under the Creative Commons license.