According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, backup accidents involving a vehicle backing over a person kill 300 people and cause 18,000 injuries in an average year. The problem of backup accidents has become so pronounced, it drew the attention of Congress. In 2007, Congress passed the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act, named for a toddler who was killed when his father backed over him in the family's driveway. The act required eliminating problematic blind spots.
Earlier this month, NHTSA proposed new regulations that would eliminate vehicle blind spots by requiring backup cameras to be installed on all new passenger vehicles and light trucks by 2014. The proposed rule would require an area 10 feet wide and 20 feet to the rear of all vehicles to be visible to drivers as they back up.
NHTSA estimates the new regulation will prevent 95 to 112 fatal accidents and approximately 7,000 injuries each year. The cost of adding the backup cameras will vary depending on the vehicle. For vehicles that already have a video screen visible to the driver, the cost could be between $58 and $88. For vehicles that do not already have a video screen, the cost is estimated to be $159 to $203.
Presently, backup cameras are optional on many new vehicles, but only about 20 percent of new 2010 vehicles are equipped with backup cameras. The new regulation will require 40 percent of all 2013 vehicles to be equipped with backup cameras, and all 2014 vehicles will be required to have them.
- USA Today, "Feds would require backup cameras by 2014," December 3, 2010
- Bloomberg, "U.S. Regulators Propose Requiring Backup Cameras in All New Cars by 2014," Angela Greiling Keane, December 3, 2010