Illinois Automobile Safety Update: Rearview Camera Mandate Postponed

According to WLS-TV Chicago, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by way of the Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, told Congress on February 28, 2012, that new rules mandating rearview cameras on all passenger vehicles would be delayed until the end of 2012. In 2008, Congress passed the Cameron Gulransen Kids Transportation Safety Act. The law instructed the NHTSA to set standards for rear visibility. The Chicago Tribune reported that regulators were pushing to require rearview cameras in all new cars by 2014. It’s now unclear, however, whether the most recent delay will push back the 2014 date.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Established in 1970, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a part of the Department of Transportation, is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle accidents. In November 2006, as a part of this mandate, the NHTSA investigated the safety issues related to motor vehicle backover accidents. Backover accidents occur when a driver is backing up a vehicle and strikes a child, pedestrian, vehicle, or other object. The NHTSA tested different technologies that are designed to prevent pedestrian injuries, injuries to minors and children, and collisions with other objects. Based on its research and testing, the NHTSA determined that ultra-sonic and radar parking technologies inadequately prevented most injuries to child pedestrians; rather, the NHTSA found that the technology most effective in preventing backover car accidents was camera technology.

Rearview Cameras and Preventable Accidents

As reported by the Daily Herald, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that U.S. backover crashes kill 292 people a year and injure nearly 20,000. The Chicago Tribune and WHNT19 News reported that rearview cameras are already saving lives. In fact, rear view cameras are already standard equipment in 45% of newly manufactured cars and trucks.

Keep in mind that there are more used cars on the roads than new. Even if cars manufactured after 2014 come with standard rearview cameras, there will be millions of used cars that lack this crucial technology. Drivers must be extremely careful when backing up their vehicles, especially in SUV’s and large trucks, which can be very challenging to backup. Diligence needs to be maintained around children when backing out of a driveway. Minors and children disproportionately suffer severe trauma from backover accidents, but accidents don’t always involve children and pedestrians. One of the most common dangers in DuPage County occurs when a car is backing out of a driveway. These collisions have the potential to result in serious injuries, including severe back and neck injuries from the “whiplash effect” associated with rear end collisions. Although rearview cameras may not be the best way to prevent car accidents and truck accidents that occur when one backups up into oncoming traffic, they are a useful tool to help prevent injuries to minors and children.