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Rear-Facing Cameras Might Be Required by 2014

Last week we covered why it might be a good idea to install a dash cam into your vehicle. So many vehicles now come with a Car Navigation System and Center Module Screen stock, that adding a few cameras in the front and the rear can be easy and provide you with a range of benefits. Soon, however, automakers will not have a choice: rear facing back up cameras are set to be required for all vehicles made after 2014.

Based on a proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers must have the ability to see behind their vehicle when the vehicle is put into reverse. According to NHTSA, this "blind spot" regulation could save 95 to 112 lives per year, and prevent 7,000 to 8,000 or more injuries. Tragically, backover accidents cause an average of 229 deaths per year, 44% of which are children under 5 years old. Cars with lots of travel and small back windows (like SUVs) have very poor rear visibility, especially for children who are not taller than the back windows of the vehicle.

The matter is not cut and dried, however: there is some heated debate on whether measures like this are necessary. The NHTSA says the total approximate cost to equip their estimate of 16.6 million vehicles sold in 2014 would be between $1.9 billion and $2.7 billion. Of course it's impossible to put a price on a child's life, but it is possible to hold drivers responsible for making sure there is nothing behind their vehicle, especially if there are children around.

There is also the responsibility of parents to keep an eye on their children to make sure they are not playing behind cars, and not in the driveway when a car is running. Given that in 2009 33,808 people were killed in automobile related accidents, back-up related deaths are relatively rare.

The decision has been delayed on several occasions so the jury isn't out yet on the issue, but if passed we could be seeing even the lowest base model cars with in-dash screens to support rear-facing cameras as early as 2014. Do you think the burden of responsibility lies with automakers or parents?

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