What used to be touted as a luxury item in new cars will soon be an essential piece of safety equipment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently issued a final rule that will require all passenger cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs to have rearview back-up cameras installed on new vehicles built after May 1, 2018.
The law passed by Congress that led to the rule was originally ratified in 2008. However, there were substantial delays in the research and writing of the rules that led to the rules being implemented so late. Also, it was rumored that the federal government did not to burden an auto industry that was already hampered by the recession.
For consumers, the new rule has substantial implications. First, it adds another dimension on the duty to use reasonable care when backing out of driveways. Indeed, drivers have a responsibility to check blind spots and look for children before backing out, but the implementation of rearview cameras suggests that they also rely on what they see through the camera. It is also another piece of equipment that must be kept in working order so that an errant technological failure does not lead to a child being injured or killed.
Drivers who fail to use such care, and end up causing an accident, could be held liable for the ensuing injuries.
In the meantime, it is estimated that backup cameras will save as many as 15 lives per year and prevent more than 1,000 injuries annually.
Source: StarTribune.com “NHTSA issues final ruling that requires rearview technology in new vehicles by 2018,” Stacy Anderson, March 31, 2014