Print 34 comment(s) - last by coldar.. on Mar 21 at 3:24 PM

Cameras alone are more effective than cameras and parking sensors says survey

Rear view cameras are becoming a standard accessory on many cars sold in the U.S. The cameras have been mandated to prevent accidents where small children are backed over by inattentive drivers.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has performed a study -- using volunteers driving 21 different vehicles in an empty parking lot -- that found backup cameras are much more effective than parking sensors while travelling in reverse.
The results of the study show that cameras would better prevent “backover” crashes into pedestrians who are in the vehicle blind spot than parking sensors alone. Oddly, the study found that while cameras worked better than sensors alone, the camera alone worked better than a combination of sensors and camera.

"Right now cameras appear to be the most promising technology for addressing this particularly tragic type of crash, which frequently claims the lives of young children in the driveways of their own homes," says David Zuby, the Institute's executive vice president and chief research officer.
During testing, researchers used a pole that had bands painted to represent children of different heights. Bands were market for the average height of children 12-15 months old, 2.5-3 years old, and 5-6 years old.
The study found that on average if the child was within about 27-feet of the back bumper, drivers couldn't see them using mirrors and looking around alone. Not surprisingly, large SUVs performed the worst in visibility, while small cars typically performed the best.
An estimated 292 people die each year and 18,000 are injured by drivers that back into them. Backup cameras reduce the rear blind zone by 90% on average according to the study.
Current legislation that would mandate the installation of backup cameras on all new passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. has been delayed.

Source: IIHS

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Surprised at the results
By Johnmcl7 on 3/18/2014 10:29:28 AM , Rating: 2
I prefer sensors alone over a rear view camera as I can reverse normally checking my mirrors and all around the car while listening for the beeps. I didn't like the rear view camera as I found I looked at it too often and not enough around the car.

RE: Surprised at the results
By Rukkian on 3/18/2014 10:34:59 AM , Rating: 2
I used to like the sensors, but now that I have a camera, I think I like it better, as it helps to lineup perfectly when backing into parking spots, especially combined with looking in the mirrors.

I have no idea why having both would be worse, it makes no sense.

RE: Surprised at the results
By CaedenV on 3/18/2014 10:39:28 AM , Rating: 3
We are much simpler creatures than we would like to admit. At the end of the day too much good information is just as detrimental as bad information. Having a single effective input is much less distracting than trying to pay attention to several sources of information. I love these new systems that stitch together a few different cameras for a composite view around the vehicle, it makes reverse parking, parallel parking, and navigating through tight places much easier.

RE: Surprised at the results
By Reclaimer77 on 3/18/14, Rating: 0
RE: Surprised at the results
By michael2k on 3/18/2014 4:19:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, no.

They actually did the research, and it was quoted in the summary.

The study found that on average if the child was within about 27-feet of the back bumper, drivers couldn't see them using mirrors and looking around alone. - See more at:

I have small kids. This is literally my worst nightmare, my kids (or their friends), lying on the sidewalk or driveway playing with chalk and not hearing my car, and me not seeing them because they are only 10" tall.

It's easy to tell them to not do this. It's impossible to expect them to always listen to me. Dying, death, injury, and harm isn't really a good way to teach them to pay attention, I'd rather this not happen at all.

RE: Surprised at the results
By Reclaimer77 on 3/18/2014 4:34:48 PM , Rating: 2
I have small kids.

Then this is available as an option for you to purchase on your vehicles.

I DON'T have kids, so why should this equipment be mandated on me, adding to the cost of the vehicle for equipment I don't want or need?

This is the problem with you people. If something is really important to you, you wouldn't just wait around for the Government to do it for you. That kind of lazy pro-socialist crap is why we're in this mess.

And how hard is it to use a little foresight, observe your surroundings better, and NOT run over a kid?

RE: Surprised at the results
By michael2k on 3/18/2014 4:48:15 PM , Rating: 2
That's why I did go for the camera option!

I've never said I want this mandated as a law.

What I am disagreeing with is the statement, now made several times, that said you don't need the camera to avoid kids; as per the actual study, it's essentially impossible to do so.

Kids are too small, tailgates too high, and even with the cameras you still had a high hit rate.

RE: Surprised at the results
By Reclaimer77 on 3/18/2014 5:04:30 PM , Rating: 2
You realize of course, that the "study" was engineered to support the already-made conclusion that this equipment is necessary.

That's what our Government does. If they want to do something, they commission "studies" to prove that what they want to do is vital and necessary.

Somehow I never got run over by a car and have never known anyone who personally did or had it happen to them.


RE: Surprised at the results
By Samus on 3/19/2014 2:54:24 AM , Rating: 2
It wasn't an option on my CX-5. Every model since 2013 has it AFAIK. I didn't care for it at first, but considering I don't have backup sensors (they were $500!) I actually use the camera to nudge as close to car bumpers when parallel parking.

I haven't love tapped a single bumper yet. The camera boxes out dimensions and they are pretty accurate.

Overall I like it, and if it weren't for government regulation, I would have probably never opted for it not thinking I needed it. Thanks Obama! Always lookin' out for us!

RE: Surprised at the results
By CharonPDX on 3/18/2014 5:26:24 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get into accidents, why should I pay for a passenger airbag?

My house has never caught fire - why should I pay for a fire department for the lazy irresponsible idiots who DO light their houses on fire?!

I've never threatened another country - why should I pay for a military because we we have warmongers around me?

I rarely get sick, why should I pay for insurance to subsidize those that waste our healthcare going to the doctor all the time?

Because, once in a while, it's good to think about more than just yourself... And because some people are greedy self-centered assholes, we must mandate these things.

I would rather insist that someone HAVE something than insist that they be DISALLOWED from having something. And, hey, it's pro-business requiring you to get certain things!

If you don't like it, don't buy a new car, buy an old one.

RE: Surprised at the results
By alpha754293 on 3/19/2014 8:52:47 AM , Rating: 2
YOU don't NEED to have small kids. That pre-supposes that NONE of your friends have small kids either (or that whenever you get together, it's either always at your place, or it's in a public setting).

By your logic, NONE of the safety technologies should be in your car. So in other words, your ideal car would be like a 1959 Chevy Bel Air.

Seatbelts? Don't need 'em. Airbags? Yank 'em. Turn signals? probably don't use those either. Crush cans? Pull 'em. Crumple zones? pffttt...I LAUGH at you.

If you crash into a tree or a building, that your problem. Where it becomes a public problem is when you crash into someone ELSE, (or someone else crashing into you), and then because YOU have NONE of those things, your risk of injury is SUBSTANTIALLY and SIGNIFICANTLY higher, which means at best, you end up in a fair amount of pain, but you get a big fat check for it or you end up being paralyzed for life, leeching off the government for the rest of your vegetative life.

"We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology." - Carl Sagan

People, generally and for the most part, SUCK at math, arithmetic, and statistics. They don't understand it, and then WE end up having to pay for your "lazy pro-socialist" butt because you won't buy a car that has been properly engineered to mitigate your risk to society. So instead of forking out a hundred to two hundred bucks for the camera, we have to pay THOUSANDS to keep you alive with a breathing machine because you now have a collapsed lung after being ran over by a truck that was backing up.


RE: Surprised at the results
By coldar on 3/21/2014 3:24:31 PM , Rating: 2
I live near an elementary school and kids cross my driveway all the time at peak hours. My solution to the problem is not technical: I developed the habit of backing into my parking spot.
When I leave my driveway I'm facing the street and don't depend on ANY technology to keep kids safe.

By the way, I do have a rear-view camera but since I don't live in a consistenly sunny state, it often gets blurry by smudge, dirts, mud, etc. I feel a lot safer not depending on that technology for safety.

RE: Surprised at the results
By danjw1 on 3/18/2014 10:55:35 AM , Rating: 4
I have no idea why having both would be worse, it makes no sense.

My guess is that people are not looking at the camera and just listening to the sensor output. So, if the sensor misses something they don't see it on the screen.

RE: Surprised at the results
By sorry dog on 3/18/2014 1:48:39 PM , Rating: 2
...or perhaps the setup of test or the devices used are seriously flawed.

It wouldn't be the first time that these guys used statistics to support a conclusion rather than make one.

RE: Surprised at the results
By Solandri on 3/18/2014 3:13:15 PM , Rating: 2
If you click through to read the source article (from the IIHS, not some reporter munging what they're told), it looks like a pretty robust test setup. For this particular test, told the test subjects to evaluate the car's entertainment system, then to move the car to a different parking spot. Then they snuck in a child-sized foam dummy behind the car (pic in the article). Some of the dummies were stationary, some moved.

There are more interesting tidbits if you read the source article. Most surprising was that even with the camera, nearly half (44%) of the drivers hit the stationary dummy. Inattentiveness seems to be the biggest killer here.

RE: Surprised at the results
By Sazabi19 on 3/19/2014 9:30:09 AM , Rating: 2
I think this is because the sensors are at a certain level and inexperienced people using it could be fooled by it. The lines are there sure but that is set for a certain height as well. If you see something in the mirror that looks close but hear no beeps you may be inclined to back up farther because you think surely the sonar would have picked it up and actually hit it on accident. Meanwhile with just the camera you would have seen it and just thought well, that is close enough. My old car only had a camera but my new Cadenza also has sonar, I can't tell you how often it doesn't beep until I am extremely close to an object or it is just at the wrong height. That isn't anything wrong with the car but you can't just pelt the back with nothing but sensors to cover every area. You just need to be smart about it, if it looks close, it probably is. It just takes practice. I use the cam primarily, the beeps honestly don't do much for me I can see that I am close.

RE: Surprised at the results
By SublimeSimplicity on 3/18/2014 10:38:05 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps people become reliant on the sensors and don't look at the camera view unless they hear the signal. Without the signal it forces them to always look at the screen.

Only thing I can come up with.

RE: Surprised at the results
By Solandri on 3/18/2014 3:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
That's what the study guesses was the reason.
For drivers who had both the camera and the sensors, the benefit wasn't as great as with the camera alone. Three-quarters of these drivers hit the stationary object. It may be that the sensors, which detect objects up to 8 feet behind the vehicle at speeds less than 5 mph, gave drivers a false sense of security, so they paid less attention to the camera display. Slightly fewer drivers who had both cameras and sensors looked at the camera display at least once than drivers who had only cameras, and they spent a smaller proportion of time looking at the camera display while backing, but these differences weren't statistically significant.

The very last bit there means we're splitting hairs though.

RE: Surprised at the results
By Jeffk464 on 3/18/2014 11:53:05 AM , Rating: 2
I prefer sensors alone over a rear view camera as I can reverse normally checking my mirrors and all around the car while listening for the beeps

Absolutely, you can look over your shoulder like you always have with a much larger field of view than the camera gives you. The beeps are just to warn you of something you missed or to help you back up to within a foot of whatever your backing up against. I used both all the time when I worked at a Nissan dealership and much preferred the beeps.

RE: Surprised at the results
By Jeffk464 on 3/18/2014 11:54:03 AM , Rating: 2
PS you should not be relying on mirrors either when backing up, swing your head around.

RE: Surprised at the results
By Mint on 3/18/2014 4:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
Absolutely, you can look over your shoulder like you always have with a much larger field of view than the camera gives you.
You obviously weren't paying attention to the article:
The study found that on average if the child was within about 27-feet of the back bumper, drivers couldn't see them using mirrors and looking around alone.

Field of view from your drivers seat doesn't do you much good when the tailgate is blocking your line of sight to smaller objects.

The fatalaties are sad, but realistically they're rare enough to probably not be worth a mandate at this point. I'm curious what kind of collision/property damage would get averted, though. I wouldn't be surprised if we had tens of millions of fender benders per year due to backing up.

RE: Surprised at the results
By Jeffk464 on 3/18/2014 4:31:41 PM , Rating: 2
Right that's what the sensors are for, if something is behind your car they beep. Trust me I cant see anything under probably under 4 feet when I'm backing up.

RE: Surprised at the results
By michael2k on 3/18/2014 4:25:39 PM , Rating: 2
You're super human then. From the article summary:
The study found that on average if the child was within about 27-feet of the back bumper, drivers couldn't see them using mirrors and looking around alone. - See more at:

Whatever you prefer, then, doesn't apply to the rest of us.

RE: Surprised at the results
By alpha754293 on 3/19/2014 8:36:36 AM , Rating: 2
I use both. I listen for the sensors under most circumstances, because I've heard stories about how people would end up becoming TOO dependent on the camera alone that they don't drive the way that people are supposed to anyways (i.e. backing INTO the sides of their garage because they don't see it on the screen, rather than looking and checking all around their car).

The reality is that these are all driver assistance technologies, but they're NOT a replacement for the driver.

When I first bought my car, I used it more. But the first two tests that I did was to get a sense for what the red-yellow-green markers mean in real-world, physical length terms, so I checked and tested that. And then the second test that I did was to find out at what point would I NOT be able to see something in the rearview camera, but it was behind the car (testing the camera's field of vision).

After that, I would back up like a driver SHOULD, but I do listen for the beeps and tones from the sensors, and if and when in doubt (about alignment and/or spacing, like backing into a tight spot in a parking garage), I use the camera then.

Yay for cameras!
By CaedenV on 3/18/2014 10:35:49 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, why do we use mirrors in our cars anymore? We have so many blind spots, and seeing on the eye-level plane is hardly ideal in the first place. On top of that, the removal of side mirrors would improve mileage, cut down cabin noise, and look better.

Beyond all of that, cameras are cheap these days. Dirt cheap. The cameras found in our cell phones are more than good enough to get the job done in a car situation. Slap in some wire, a cheap ARM processor, and replace the instrument panel with an LCD and we are all set. It is not going to add that much weight (no more than a small laptop, minus the weight of the parts replaced), and it does not need to be expensive (except that they will find a way to make it expensive). This is something that should be a standard requirement for every car maker so that we as drivers (and our computer overlords when they start driving us in a few years) will have a much better sense of our surroundings.

RE: Yay for cameras!
By foxalopex on 3/18/2014 10:44:45 AM , Rating: 2
Don't forget that it's possible for the camera to break, get plugged up with dirt / mud / ice / snow which means you'll always need mirrors as a backup.

Still I agree that the sensors are useful. I have ultrasonic rear sensors so I don't accidentally back into poles, cars or walls. They are very helpful in figuring out how much closer I can park my car without bumping into something. I also have a camera too which is useful for backing up but I also depend on my mirrors as well.

RE: Yay for cameras!
By josh_b on 3/18/2014 11:55:40 AM , Rating: 2
I would also caution people that using the cameras at night can be risky. Not many cameras have sufficient nightime sensitivity.

RE: Yay for cameras!
By Jeffk464 on 3/18/2014 11:55:37 AM , Rating: 2
Yup, the new blind spot warning setups are great and should definitely be added to large commercial vehicles.

RE: Yay for cameras!
By chimto on 3/18/2014 2:44:10 PM , Rating: 1
I saw an interview with Elon Musk where he complained about mirrors also. Apparently there is legislation that mandates cars have mirrors. He wanted to put cameras in his Teslas but the law requires mirrors on all cars and laws are a bitch to change. :(

By Murloc on 3/18/2014 2:40:24 PM , Rating: 2
it's obvious: if people have both, many don't use the camera unless they're parking close to vegetation and sensors go full retard, they park like they always do and use the sensors to gauge the remaining distance acoustically.

Anyway sensors and cameras are nowhere cheap enough to feature them in a majority of vehicles. Most cheap cars don't even have integrated GPS.

RE: obvious
By CharonPDX on 3/18/2014 5:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
A small tablet computer can be had for $99. It includes a camera and a screen - likely larger than the screen in the vast majority of EXPENSIVE cars. It's amazing how things that the government mandates in new cars go from "luxury really expensive add-on" to "dirt cheap item since the company can no longer charge extra for it" really quickly. (See airbags.)

Hell, I see one Android tablet for $40. And I found a car backup camera system (camera plus screen) for $60 at Best Buy online. $80 for one with night-vision, $130 for a "name brand" set.

This is not a massive expense. Car companies WILL find a way to integrate it for less than $20 per vehicle.

Doesn't make sense.
By KurgSmash on 3/18/2014 1:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
Probably too small a study or some other factor.

I have a camera and a sensor and the two together are awesome. I generally use the camera but if I get too close to something behind me the audible alarm quickly draws my attention to it.

I will never buy another car without a camera, at least, and would much prefer both.

also in the report...
By alpha754293 on 3/19/2014 9:07:38 AM , Rating: 2
"However, the Hyundai Sonata, a midsize car, was an exception. At 263 square feet, its blind zone for a 12-15 month-old was 42 percent larger than that of the F-150 pickup truck."

The field of vision for today's cars DEFINITELY has been going down since like the 2000's and the 90s. The SUVs are just absolutely terrible. I know that some of the higher-end cars now have 360º view because it's so bad. And honestly, with the technologies that are available today, I think that 360 view should become standard.

It doesn't replace the driver, but like technology-assisted learning though, it is there to help you become a BETTER driver by helping you and giving you a better view of the immediate surroundings of your car that are otherwise obstructed or obscured.

And with more and more electrification across the board (c'mon, even Ferrari and Porsche's doing it), it also means that more and more vehicles are going to be silent or near dead silent at low speeds, which is probably the WORST combination when you add "things you can hit while backing up" into the mix.

So keep that in mind as well.

By RapidDissent on 3/20/2014 4:57:46 PM , Rating: 2
We might as well just make cars so expensive that most people can't afford them. Fewer drivers, fewer accidents, fewer fatalities, fewer CO2s, fewer UAW dollars feeding the mafia... Everybody wins!

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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