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January 07, 2011

No More Backing Blind: Rearview Cameras Become Standard

Car-Backup-Camera-1 Children’s Lives to be Saved by Proposed Regulation Focused on Auto Backovers

AskPatty.com is very happy to learn from our friends at KidsandCars.org that the U.S. Department of Transportation has finally recognized the solution to the devastating problem of children being backed over by vehicles and killed - by proposing a comprehensive rear visibility standard for all passenger vehicles. This means that those handy "backup cameras" will soon be standard equipment in all automobiles.  There hasn’t been an announcement this significant since seatbelts and airbags were added to vehicles.  No more backing up blind!


Automobiles have been manufactured for over 100 years and though there are plenty of rules and regulations on headlights, emissions, and general state of repair, there has never been a guideline or regulation about what a driver should be able to see when backing their vehicle - until now.

For over 10 years the national nonprofit organization, KidsAndCars.org, has been collecting data about vehicle related nontraffic incidents which include backovers.  They led the initiative to bring the magnitude of these tragic deaths and injuries to the national agenda.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is requiring that blindzones behind vehicles be eliminated to reduce the possibility of death and injury resulting from backing incidents, particularly incidents involving small children and the elderly.

“Expanding the field of vision for all passenger cars, pickup trucks, and minivans if necessary so drivers can see directly behind the vehicle when backing,” said Janette Fennell, founder and president of KidsAndCars.org.  “The quality of rearview camera technology has advanced to the point where you can see if there are leaves on the ground when backing.  We have the technology to prevent these deaths; and now we are going to use it” she added.

In the U.S. at least fifty children are backed over by vehicles every week.  Of those 50, 48 are treated in hospital emergency rooms and at least two children are killed.  Every week.  Moreover, in over 70% of backover incidents involving children, it is a direct relative of that child who is the driver of the vehicle.  These aren't acts of malice, folks, clearly there is a need for better visibility when backing up.

“We have had the honor of working with some of the most courageous parents in America throughout this entire process” states Janette Fennell.  “These phenomenal families have somehow found the strength to tell their unthinkable stories over and over again about how a backover tragedy befell their family.  They have worked in honor of their children to ensure that other families do not have to experience the devastating loss of a child when a loving relative was behind the wheel.  This is a huge triumph for all American families but especially for those special and rare individuals who chose to channel their grief into policy change” she added.


So, when can we expect our new car to have a standard camera?  The law takes effect in 2012, when 10% of manufacturer's vehicles must be compliant. In 2013, the percentage bumps up to 40%, and by 2014, 100% of new cars sold in the U.S. will have a rear-view camera.   AskPatty applauds the decision and the DOT's resolution to keep our children safe.


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