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New York Death Leads to Proposed Backup Camera Requirement

In 2002, a New York boy was hit and killed when his father backed up a car in the driveway at their family home. The father's car had a blind zone that made it impossible for him to see the two-year-old boy. Since that time, Congress passed the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act. The Act, named for the New York boy, required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to create regulations to minimize blind zones in all passenger vehicles.

This month, the NHTSA proposed a new regulation that would require backup cameras on all new vehicles by 2014. According to the NHTSA's statistics, on average, 292 people are killed each year by back-over accidents. Additionally, on average, 18,000 people are injured annually in back-over accidents, with about 3,000 people suffering incapacitating injuries.

Back-over accidents primarily affect very old and very young people who are unable to see or avoid a vehicle that is backing up. NHTSA statistics show that 44 percent of back-over accidents involve children younger than five years of age.

The cost of adding the cameras to vehicles will vary, depending on the model of the vehicles. For vehicles without a video screen, backup cameras would cost consumers $159 to $203 per model. For cars with video screens, the cameras would cost between $58 and $88.

The NHTSA believes the new camera requirement would reduce back-over vehicle accidents by almost half. The agency is presently in the early stages of issuing this regulation, and is accepting comments from the public for 60 days. It plans to publish a final regulation requiring back-up cameras by February 28.

Sources:

Bloomberg, "U.S. Regulators Propose Requiring Backup Cameras in All New Cars by 2014," Angela Greiling Keane, 12/3/2010

Newsday, "LI death leads to proposal for blind-zone law," Jose Moreno, 12/8/2010

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