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NHTSA Aims to Make Backup Cameras Mandatory by 2015

  • Backup cameras may soon become standard
  • New NHTSA regulation could set visibility guidelines
  • Regulation may mean cameras as early as next year

Reversing cameras may soon become standard in all new vehicles. That’s the latest from the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which recently laid out plans to create new rear-visibility guidelines by next year that may make cameras necessary. 

While such a regulation has not yet been enacted, NHTSA proposed the rule in 2010. It’s been delayed for several years, in part due to governmental resistance and partly because NHTSA wanted to make sure a precise rule was written. While the exact regulation is unknown, it may not mandate cameras on all vehicles. Instead, it could set strict rear-visibility guidelines that would be difficult — or impossible — to achieve without them. 

According to NHTSA, the cost of adding reversing cameras to all new vehicles won’t be small. The government agency says that the cameras will cost between $58 and $203 per vehicle — a cost automakers will likely pass on to car buyers. But NHTSA also points out that shifting to camera-equipped vehicles throughout the industry could save between 95 and 112 lives per year. 

Most carmakers are unlikely to feel a major impact from the new regulation. Most have been expecting such a regulation, and they’re prepared for it. Nearly all brands offer backup cameras in at least a few of their models. Some, such as Honda, include the cameras as standard equipment throughout their lineups. 

Camera legislation has been a hot topic for several years, as the technology has become more common and less expensive. Adding cameras to all vehicles will likely prevent a host of low-speed parking lot accidents. And it could prevent many “backover” deaths, where children and toddlers are backed over by drivers who couldn’t see them. 

What it means to you: Get ready for your next new car to have a reversing camera, and to come with a slightly higher price tag as a result.

Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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