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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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