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  (Source: dieselpowermag.com)
NHTSA pushes for the mandate to save lives while opponents such as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers reminds it of costs associated with implementing the rule

New regulations that require automakers to improve rear visibility in all new models by 2014 were proposed in December 2010, and now, the backup camera rule is part of the national debate about safety, federal regulations, and jobs.

The backup camera rule would require the installation of backup cameras in all new vehicles by 2014. It was proposed by President Barack Obama, and is 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's car.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 292 people die from back-over accidents per year. By implementing the backup camera rule, half of those lives would be saved annually.

While the backup cameras could clearly be beneficial, the topic is up for debate because opponents say the requirement would be too costly and would result in job losses.

According to an August 30 letter the president sent to House Republican leaders, the backup camera mandate is in the top five list of the five most costly rules under consideration at this time.

The backup camera rule could cost as much as $2.7 billion, and would equate to about $18.5 million per life saved. Adding the cameras to vehicles would tack on an extra $58 to $203 per vehicle.

"Congress built flexibility into this law to balance safety and cost, and unfortunately NHTSA has ignored Congress by mandating an expensive, one-size-fits-all solution for rearview cameras," said Gloria Bergquist, spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

So far, individual automakers have not said anything negative about the rule despite these costs. In fact, Ford plans to have backup cameras in all Ford and Lincoln models by the end of this year.

The backup camera plan calls for 10 percent of the United States' new fleet to meet standards by 2012, 40 percent to meet the standards by 2013, and all new vehicles to comply by 2014.

Source: The Detroit News





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