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Hey Mac What's Up With Making Rear Vision Cameras Standard?

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

By Mac Gordon
Senior Editor and large
Michigan Bureau
The Auto Channel

The NHTSA has ordered a delay and possibly a lengthy one in issuing a rule calling for all cars to install backup cameras that would bolster rear visibility as a protective against vehicle and pedestrian accidents.

This is the fourth delay in the rear-ender rule since Congress approved the legislation in 2007, only to meet automaker resistance to the cost involved in equipping cars with “rear vision” cameras.

Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood had hoped to finalize the rear-ender mandate rule by December 31, 2012, but the NHTSA reported that the cost factor would add $700 million to $1.6 billion in added equipment compliance costs by 2014.

In addition, the White House Office of Management and Budget said it is still reviewing the proposal to determine the value of the legislation from the standpoint of saved lives.

NHTSA has determined that the proposal would save between $11.8 million and $19.7 million per life saved.

About 100 children aged five or younger are annually in backup crashes, more than half of whom are one or younger.

Furthermore, NHTSA says fatalities from backup crashes range from 95 to 112 annually, while inquiries would be cut by 7,072 to 8,374.

How much would rear display screens cost motorists? NHTSA says vehicles now equipped with a screen could be charged only $58 to $88, but those without one $159 to $203.

Rear vision cameras are well worth the added cost, this critic believes, not to mention “night vision” cameras. Safety-first still is a must, like seatbelts and headrests.