Starting in May 2018, all new cars and light trucks sold in the United States must have rearview cameras. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the new requirement will apply to all vehicles under 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg), including buses and trucks.
The cameras, according to the NHTSA, are designed to prevent vehicles from hitting pedestrians. “Rear visibility requirements will save lives, and will save many families from the heartache suffered after these tragic incidents occur,” said Administration representative David Friedman.
There are, on average, 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by backover accidents, the agency said. Children under the age of five and adults over the age of 70 are involved in over half of all fatalities from backover accidents. The new camera requirement should save some 58-69 lives per year at a cost of about $132 and $142 to equip each vehicle.
The NHTSA was hoping to have the mandatory cameras by the year 2011, but the measure was delayed several times. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, chastised the Obama administration for being slow to come around. “While the administration delayed the rule, more children died in backover accidents. The cost of regulatory delay, in human lives, could hardly be more clear than it is today.”