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NHTSA Mandates Rearview Cameras in All New Vehicles

Spohrer Dodd

A few weeks ago, we brought you the story of years-long delays in governmental mandating of rearview cameras, designed to help stop tragedies of victims, primarily young children and the elderly, being killed or seriously injured in backup accidents. Now, that mandate finally is in place. It’s about time, safety advocates and personal injury attorneys say.

Just this week, the White House Office of Management and Budget finalized the Department of Transportation’s and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s proposed rear visibility rules and cleared the way for mandatory rearview cameras in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds beginning May 1, 2018. Each camera’s field of view must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle, and the system must meet image size, linger time, response time, durability and deactivation requirements.

The announcement comes after a highly criticized six-year wait since Congress passed a law compelling the DOT to have a rear-visibility rule in place by 2011; and just one day before a federal appeals court was set to hear arguments in a lawsuit filed in September over the delays. Plaintiffs in the case included one father who accidentally killed his own two-year-old son in a backup accident in 2002; a mother who injured her child in a similar incident; and three safety organizations, Kids and Cars Inc., Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Consumers Union.

Statistics show the move is long overdue. Some 210 Americans are killed each year in backup accidents. Among them, 31 percent are children younger than five, and 26 percent are elderly adults age 70 and older. Another 15,000 people are injured in these incidents.

“Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents — our children and seniors,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters. “As a father, I can only imagine how heart wrenching these types of accidents can be for families, but we hope that today’s rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents.”

If you or someone you love is injured in a backup accident, get medical attention immediately, even if the injuries seem minor. Then, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help assure you’re awarded fair compensation for your losses.