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Obama Administration to Mandate Rear-view Cameras in Cars?

Earlier this month, Bloomberg published an article about regulations the Obama administration is pursuing that could cost business in excess of $1 billion.

Four of the proposed regulations discussed emanated from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has recently been under fire for actions entrenching its regulation-happy image.

However, one rule being pushed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) is attracting some attention: NHTSA may be set to mandate the installation of rear-view cameras in all vehicles, including cars.

The proposed regulation reportedly emanates from a law passed by the Democratic Congress in 2008, and is designed to prevent deaths arising from drivers reversing into pedestrians. Government statistics indicate there are about 300 some deaths per year; proponents of the rule concede that the mandatory installation of the cameras would not prevent the vast majority (over 65 percent) of those deaths. In addition, the installation of a rear-view camera in a car adds about $200 to the purchase price, and would cost the industry as a whole close to $3 billion.

The Obama administration has of late been seen to move to insulate itself from charges that it is regulation-happy, at the expense of economic recovery and jobs. This rule may receive additional scrutiny as debates continue about the effect of regulation on the economy heading into the 2012 election.

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