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Back-up cameras could be required for all new 2014 vehicles   (Source:
The new rules, if finalized, would cost the auto industry $1.9 billion to $2.7 billion per year, but would save approximately 100 lives

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has asked Congress for an extension to finalize the new regulations that require automakers to improve rear visibility in all new models by 2014. 

The new regulations were supposed to be completed by today, but the NHTSA has requested more time in order to finish the new rules that are meant to save the lives of those involved in backup crashes.

The new regulations, which were proposed in December 2010, aim to eliminate blind spots in vehicles by improving overall visibility or adding backup cameras in all new vehicles by 2014. The proposal is meant to be a solution to the 300 fatalities associated with “backover” accidents that occur annually. It is also a response to the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Act, which is a 2008 law named after a young boy who was accidentally ran over by his father, and was meant to address such issues. 

Approximately 100 out of 300 fatal backovers consist of children ages five and under, and one-third of the deaths involve senior citizens who are 70 and older. Blind spots behind vehicles can make it hard to see pedestrians or cars approaching while backing up, and while automakers have already added video cameras and other detection sensors to vehicles, these devices are optional on many vehicles, and only about 20 percent of new models have such equipment.

"There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  

The new rules, if finalized, would cost the auto industry $1.9 billion to $2.7 billion per year. The regulation would add $159 to $203 in costs to each vehicle without a display screen (those with in-car navigation systems), and $58 to $88 to each vehicle with a display screen. 

According to a cost-benefit analysis conducted by the NHTSA, "the costs per life saved ranged from $11.3 million to $72.2 million - above its comprehensive cost estimate for a statistical life of $6.1 billion." 

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which is a trade group representing the Big Three automakers in Detroit as well as other auto companies, has stated that it needs more time to comply to the new regulations.  

"While the alliance supports the need for improvements in rearward visibility, the regulation as proposed involves a significant additional cost per vehicle," said the group earlier this month. 

But the NHTSA is pushing for the new rules regardless of cost, arguing that the cost automakers have to pay per vehicle is worth saving a life. So far, the plan proposes that 10 percent of the United States' new fleet will have to meet the new standards by 2012, while 40 percent will have to meet these standards by the 2013 model year, and then all new vehicles must comply by 2014.  

"The public comment period on this safety proposal only recently closed, and NHTSA has asked Congress for additional time to analyze public comments, complete the rule-making process and issue a final rule," said the NHTSA in a statement today.

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RE: ahhhhhhhwww....
By Flunk on 3/1/2011 10:21:57 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, mandated auto-braking systems are what's next.

They'll stop you from hitting things (most of the time) and stop you at red lights. Soon the car will drive itself.

RE: ahhhhhhhwww....
By Jaybus on 3/2/2011 3:49:10 PM , Rating: 2
I hope so. Vision tests, blind spots, backup cameras, and radar seem to be given much attention by regulatory agencies, yet are these really major causes of accidents? No. The major cause of accidents is clearly alcohol and/or drug impaired drivers. A close second is driver texting or otherwise playing with a cell phone and not paying attention. So, most accidents are due to drivers that are too stoned to see straight or who don't bother too look at all. Third on the list is simply stupid mistakes.

If you consider driving while intoxicated and driving while playing with a cell phone to also be pretty stupid, then nearly all accidents are caused by stupid drivers. I have long said that we don't need an eye test for getting a driver's license, we need a drug/alcohol screening and an IQ test. Some people are simply too stupid to be trusted to drive a vehicle. No amount of visibility improvements and screening for the blind, regardless of cost, will fix, or even significantly alleviate the problem.

The only real fix for human error being THE major cause of auto accidents is to take control of the car away from the humans. This is already being done in aircraft. Unfortunately, it is harder to do in cars than it is in aircraft. But hopefully the technology to enable fully automated cars will be available soon. It would be nice to be able to travel without fear of being killed by a drunken/texting/slow witted driver.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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