Safety officials want backup cameras in cars
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The federal government wants automakers to install backup cameras in all new vehicles starting in late 2014.
The systems, which allow drivers to see what’s behind them in a video display on their dashboard, are available in some models now, but usually as an expensive option.
The proposal, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is designed to keep drivers from running over pedestrians who might be crossing behind their vehicles. It could also prevent parking lot bumper thumpers. The systems typically come with a bell or alarms that alerts the driver if something is located closeby within the field of view of the camera.
“There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The changes we are proposing today will help drivers see into those blind zones directly behind vehicles to make sure it is safe to back up.”
NHTSA estimates that, on average, 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur each year as a result of back-over crashes. The agency said that children and the elderly are the most common victims. Children are killed in about 44% of such fatal accidents. A third of the fatalities are people over 70.
To meet the requirements of the proposed rule, 10% of new vehicles must comply by September 2012, 40% by September 2013 and 100% by September 2014. The proposal and information about how to submit comments is at: www.nhtsa.gov/Laws-Regs.
-- Jerry Hirsch