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Back-up cameras could be required for all new 2014 vehicles   (Source: reviews.cnet.com)
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: I'm sorry but...
By ignatius on 3/1/2011 3:19:10 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is, people don't want to pay for public transportation, or to rebuild cities to be bike/pedestrian/public transit friendly. After 5+ decades of building cities based on the illusion of cheap cars, cheap parts, and cheap gas, the accumulated costs of change are extremely high. The reason why America has some of the lowest motorist licensing standards in the developed world is because it's the path of least resistance and least cognitive effort. And 40,000 preventable deaths and millions of preventable injuries every year are a testament to selfish insularity.

An intelligent, foresighted country would follow your proposal. Such a country would also realize that infrastructure has both short-term and long-term (as in centuries) cost and would plan appropriately. You do not live in such a country. And unless war or other massive catastrophes destroy some significant urban and economic centers, America may never become such a country.


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