Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed in accidents in which the driver was backing up. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries on average every year in “backover crashes.”
Small children are particularly vulnerable to these accidents, because they are too short for the driver to see in the rearview mirror. The NHTSA reports that children under five years old make up 31 percent of those killed in backover crashes. The elderly are also vulnerable: adults 70 and older make up another 26 percent of those killed.
In response, the NHTSA recently issued a new rule requiring rear visibility technology in all vehicles under 10,000 pounds. This rule will go into effect four years from now, in May of 2018.
The rule will affect cars, trucks, and even buses manufactured after that date. It requires that the field of view “include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle.” The rule also includes requirements for image size, response time, durability, and deactivation.
A number of automakers have already begun installing rear cameras to meet consumer demand.
The NHTSA hopes that this rule will increase safety and reduce the number of deaths and injuries from backover car accidents. To keep you, your family, and others safe, the NHTSA recommends that you:
- Teach your children not to play around cars
- Teach children to move away from a car when they see that it has been started or a driver is inside
- Supervise your children when around cars
- Check the area around and behind your vehicle before backing up
- Roll down your windows when backing up so that you can hear what’s going on outside your vehicle
- Back up slowly in case someone runs behind your car
Rear cameras are a great step toward ensuring that our nation’s children and elderly are at a lower risk of death or injury from backover accidents.
That being said, if your car has a rear camera, you should always look behind your car before backing up. It’s important not to rely solely on your camera—in the unlikely event that it is faulty or lagging.