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Judy Neiman with a picture of her daughter Sydnee  (Source: Yahoo News)
They suspect cost is the driving force

Even though the regulations for backup cameras in new vehicles is near, grieving parents and safety advocates want to know what the heck has taken so long.

The rearview camera mandate would make it so every vehicle would have a backup camera for seeing behind the vehicle when in reverse. The idea was triggered by the 300 deaths and 16,000 injuries annually caused by a driver's inability to see behind their vehicle when backing up. Many of the injuries and death affect young children and senior citizens. 

Judy Neiman, 53, of West Richland, Washington, is just one of the many people who have experienced a tragic death due to driving a car in reverse without properly checking her surroundings before backing up. She accidentally backed over and killed her 9-year-old daughter, Sydnee.

"They have to do something, because I've read about it happening to other people. I read about it and I said, 'I would die if it happens to me,'" said Neiman. "Then it did happen to me."

The White House is doing something about it, but there have been several delays in regulating the use of these cameras. The rearview camera regulations date back to 2007, when Congress initially approved legislation to set these standards by February 28, 2011. This date was delayed to February of this year, and again to December 31.

While the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are both behind the making of these new standards, others, namely automakers, have worried that the cost of installing these cameras on each vehicle would drive the price up too high. Parents and safety advocates blame worries regarding cost for the delays in safety. 

NHTSA estimated that adding backup cameras to every car would add $58 to $88 to the price of vehicles that have an existing dashboard display screens. It would cost $159 to $203 for those without them.

DOT Secretary Ray LaHood said he is meeting with White House officials to finalize the regulations by December 31.

In the meantime, Neiman grieves over her lost child who had survived four open-heart surgeries like a champ, but was eventually killed due to her mistake. She couldn't see her 4-foot tall daughter behind her van when pulling out of the garage.

Source: Yahoo News

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By Brandon Hill on 12/27/2012 3:43:27 PM , Rating: 5
I hate to be "that guy", but:

1) She's driving a house. Looks like an Escalade, possibly an Escalade ESV (Chevy Suburban with bling).
2) If you have kids, the first thing you need to do is make sure they're secure before backing out of the garage/driveway; especially if you're driving a house.
3) Where was the other parent/guardian/older sibling/etc. while mom was backing out the vehicle?

I think a lot of this comes down to personal responsibility. I think that it's horrible what happend to her little daughter, but it's not the vehicle's fault (or the lack of a camera that's at fault). The problem is sitting behind the steering wheel.

On a related note, I find backup cameras themselves to be highly distracting. Instead of turning my head back to look out the back window and then moving my head to check left and right side of the vehicle, I just find myself staring at the screen and watching the guide lines while backing up. I don't find that to be any safer.

RE: ???
By 91TTZ on 12/27/2012 4:07:30 PM , Rating: 5
I agree. She didn't check her surroundings and now she wants to shift the responsibility onto others.

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By Micronite on 12/27/2012 6:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I'm sure she feels quite at fault and has had to deal with the enormous emotional burden of being the person who killed her own daughter.

I don't think she's necessarily trying to shift responsibility, she's using her grief to ensure that others don't have to experience the same tragedy.

I'm sure you always walk all the way around your car every time you're going to go somewhere in it, right?

Not that I agree with the government stepping in, however.

RE: ???
By headbox on 12/27/2012 11:48:53 PM , Rating: 2
What we need is an awareness concert.

ps I always make I know exactly where my 3 kids are before driving.

RE: ???
By 91TTZ on 12/28/2012 10:09:12 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure you always walk all the way around your car every time you're going to go somewhere in it, right?

No, because I do not have kids and don't live near anyone that has small kids. If I did, I'd look.

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By Stuka on 12/28/2012 3:02:45 PM , Rating: 2
They have to do something

That sounds like shifting responsibility to me.

If she accepted her responsibility, she would be saying, " I made a mistake , and my daughter paid for it." She would then encourage everyone to be more cautious.

RE: ???
By rdhood on 1/2/2013 3:05:36 PM , Rating: 2
That sounds like shifting responsibility to me. If she accepted her responsibility, she would be saying, " I made a mistake , and my daughter paid for it." She would then encourage everyone to be more cautious.

Bingo. She says "THEY" have to do something about it. In fact, ANYONE can do something about it. Backup camera kits cost start at under $50 from Amazon. That is about half the price of a fillup of gasoline for this woman's SUV!

RE: ???
By someguy123 on 12/29/2012 2:16:58 AM , Rating: 2
She's driving a MASSIVE SUV that dwarfs half her house and backed up into her daughter. I'm not saying she's a terrible person for wanting a big car, but she was clearly not being responsible and is now shifting blame onto car manufacturers for not preventing her own mistake by implementing backup cameras on every car.

I'd say alarm sensors would be significantly more useful than backup cameras anyway considering its more likely that she didn't even bother to check at all.

RE: ???
By mmatis on 12/29/2012 10:13:46 AM , Rating: 2
So what is stopping her from spending the $$$ to put a backup camera on her vehicle? That way she could sue the camera manufacturer when her kid was behind her vehicle but out of view of the camera...

RE: ???
By knutjb on 12/31/2012 2:11:33 PM , Rating: 2
Seatbelts are only good if you use them, same for sensors or cameras. We (society) have been suckered into this delusional belief that government can fix anything. So why should she even try?

Ralph Nader started this with the Corvair and Unsafe At Any Speed. Yes, we do need some safety standards. Look at what the insurance industry does and how quickly manufacturers respond. There are some manufacturers trying to deal with the latest results to keep sales up. Do we really need some bureaucrat unilaterally deciding what must be in my car?

What has government fixed that was actually better afterwards? OSHA hasn't done it because work place safety was already improving prior to their creation. Insurance companies offered lower rates and companies responded.

When government places criminal penalties on behvior that leads to fatalities then most will pay heed though it still cannot fix everything. We still have murder.

Here we (society) ignore her personal responsibilities and defer to government to think for those of us who are responsible. They pat each other on the back for a job well done and we get stuck with another useless product and the bill that goes with it. Meanwhile, there is no change in reverse fatalities. Yes, your government at work for you...

RE: ???
By CCrunnernb on 12/27/2012 4:12:26 PM , Rating: 2
How does this help if your kid is 1" past the field of view of the camera (between the bumper and rear axle)?

RE: ???
By Uncle on 12/28/2012 1:32:40 PM , Rating: 3
How about cheap backup alarms. At work as a mechanic before we bkup its a couple of toots on the horn with bkup alarm going on company trucks. If your kid can't respond to a bkup alarm then what the heck are they doing alone in the driveway,their to young to be left out on their own.

RE: ???
By jeepga on 12/27/2012 4:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's all about personal responsibility. But, we live in a society where it's always someone or something else's fault.

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By idiot77 on 12/27/12, Rating: -1
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By spamreader1 on 12/28/2012 9:57:03 AM , Rating: 5
You can't expect someone else to engineer your way out of being irresponsible.

RE: ???
By 91TTZ on 12/28/2012 10:29:48 AM , Rating: 2
If it's truly a matter of bad engineering then I can understand, but most of these cases just involves idiots who panic or misuse everyday objects.

If you're using some kitchen knives and cut your finger off, should you be able to sue the knife maker? If you misuse a car and crash it, should you be able to sue Ford? If you intentionally climb over a guardrail and jump off a building should your family be able to sue?

RE: ???
By aurareturn on 12/27/12, Rating: -1
RE: ???
By ChronoReverse on 12/27/2012 4:22:18 PM , Rating: 2
I'd advocate for [i]checking behind your car before backing up [/i](backup cameras have dead angles too, conveniently where a child could in fact be in position to be backed over).

RE: ???
By Rukkian on 12/27/2012 4:37:53 PM , Rating: 4
But why get the government involved? If people want the cameras, let them buy a car with the camera. I personally do not want a camera.

I have used numerous cars with cameras, backup sensors and nothing. IMO, the sensors are the best solution, as you still need to use your head and eyes and look around while having added security. It is very distracting using the cameras.

RE: ???
By geddarkstorm on 12/27/2012 4:54:06 PM , Rating: 4
I agree. The sensors are actually pretty nice, since they are auditory and not vying for your visual attention like the cameras. The cameras will lead to nothing but trouble.

RE: ???
By ClownPuncher on 12/27/2012 6:22:57 PM , Rating: 3
Why not just accept responsibility then buy your own backup cameras? I'd advocate people be more mindful when they drive.

RE: ???
By Thalyn on 12/28/2012 1:00:10 AM , Rating: 1
1. Can't really blame her driving an Escalade.

I can.

I have a 44 year-old sedan, capable of seating 6 full-grown adults in relative comfort. It gets around 16MPG (US - it needs new rings). That gives it basically the same occupancy and fuel efficiency as a modern SUV - except I guarantee that I have significantly better visibility, safety and practicality than any SUV could hope of having, while also having a better acceleration profile as a result of an appropriately sized engine and significantly lower body weight.

Backup cameras be damned. If you need something like that, the vehicle in question is already poorly designed. How about starting by mandating visibility and practicality, then move on to secondary facilities once the primary ones are in check.

RE: ???
By erple2 on 12/29/2012 3:13:21 PM , Rating: 2
Well, you're delusional if you think that your late 1960's model car is safer than any vehicle on the road today.

But I will concede most of your other points...

However, people have been accidentally run over by backing up for years - pretty much since anyone was able buy a car.

This is, however, not a good idea, IMO. Airbags? Good. Seatbelts? Great. Stability Control? Surprisingly Good. Backup camera? Bad mandate. Holding people accountable? Usually good.

RE: ???
By FITCamaro on 12/27/2012 11:59:44 PM , Rating: 4

Mandating this crap is ridiculous. These are luxury features. Not necessary equipment. We've had big vehicles for decades. This crap didn't start becoming a problem until more recent years when people have started expecting everything to be handled for them.

RE: ???
By Azethoth on 12/28/2012 11:53:26 PM , Rating: 1
That's wrong. SUV has not been ubiquitous for decades, only since the 90's. Before that there was Suburban, and maybe a couple of other brands only. I drive one myself and I can tell you now the next one will have back up cameras, even if not mandated.

An SUV _NEEDS_ backup cameras. Small cars not so much.

I make a point of backing up slowly so that I can increase the horror for whoever I eventually run over.

RE: ???
By 0ldman on 12/29/2012 1:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize that 1990 was 22 years ago, right?

Before that I knew several people that drove Suburbans and full size Broncos.

None of them ever killed anyone.

RE: ???
By tecknurd on 12/28/2012 2:56:28 AM , Rating: 2
I also agree. I place that I work at, sometimes I have to work in the parking lot to collect carts. Most people do not ever check before and during when backing out of the parking spot. I always walk in the parking lot because to watch out. New cars rear lights for reverse are hard to see in daylight, so I check by the sound of the engine noise of the car. Those new cars are for looks and no care for function.

The rear view cameras are not needed. What is needed is teaching people to turn their heads towards the rear of the car while backing the car out. An audible alarm is require for cars that can not see at least a 3 foot tall person. The audible alarm sound during in reverse, so people surrounding the car will know where to look and move out of the way.

The DOT and NHTSA should spend their time standardizing area of lighting for signaling and reverse lights. Less time on or better yet no time for rear view cameras. The rear view cameras are luxury not a requirement.

RE: ???
By FITCamaro on 12/28/2012 6:13:47 AM , Rating: 2
We don't need mandated sensors either.

We need people to look where the heck they're going. For competent people who remain aware of their surroundings, this isn't an issue.

RE: ???
By Motoman on 12/28/2012 12:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
When I was only about 5 years old, we had a neighbor who accidentally backed his car over their toddler. A compact car. In the 70s.

This isn't a new problem, nor is it one that technology is going to fix. The problem is properly looking after your kids.

I'm sorry for this lady and her family, but to say the fault is with the vehicle not having a backup camera is nothing but a failed game of not-my-fault.

RE: ???
By talikarni on 12/28/2012 3:36:24 PM , Rating: 2
Time to expand driving license requirements and testing. During the driving test, give them all the normal distractions of modern newer vehicles including:

1) the instructors phone connected via bluetooth and someone calls (which comes through the car) during the drive with callerID showing as "Mom".
a) If they answer the call while driving, even hands free, points deducted. If they pull over and stop to take the call, then points added.
b) If they ignore it, have them call 3 times in a row (just like many moms would do) to see if the person would cave and answer it, or pull over to a complete stop and take the call.

2) Even for teens, have a mandatory kids car seat portion that also includes a video of "What happens in an accident if kids are not buckled in, or buckled in properly".

3) If no "roundabout" circles are in the area, have a driving course with a normal full size one... these seem to just confuse the crap out of people on my stretch of Florida. Either they run right through without slowing down or looking (sometimes causing an accident), or else they come to a complete stop waiting for all 8+ other vehicles to go through, instead of working their way in as a yield to wait for an opening or your turn.

4) At random intervals (as in not all driving tests, but random ones at least once or twice a day), have another instructor follow the driver being tested to cut them off, speed up to get in front of the car then slam on the brakes to turn, stuff like that. Try to see if the person caves easily to road rage, and if so then use that as a denial of license.

5) Require full eye exam, written test and driving tests every 10 years for all drivers (use 5 year renewal time periods). I know people like my parents who got their licenses in the 1960s and have never had to do any modern testing methods, their license is just renewed every 4-6 years. With online payments, snail mail and ease of access, it is simple enough for people to not have to ever visit the DMV after they take their initial tests (which for some people has been decades). Luckily most of FL requires we visit the DMV office to renew.

To the OP:
* She said her VAN, not SUV and the Escalade is obviously an SUV.

* Looking at her age, it was probably 5+ years ago before there were even many aftermarket cameras, BUT there were plenty of newer vehicles with backup detection systems. I suspect she had a pre-2000 van, or else a basic model van without it.
My current 2004 Durango SUV has the "backup beeps" if anything is behind the vehicle like a bike, kid or pole... although my wife still backed into a pole despite the constant beeping telling her to stop, so it takes driver education, not just implement something without the education.

RE: ???
By fredgiblet on 12/29/2012 4:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
The one thing I have to say about 1 is this, I take calls while driving sometimes, but I never let them go longer than 15-20 seconds. If I'm making a call I have a specific thing to say/ask, I get the answer and I hang up. If someone is calling me I answer them as quickly as possible, if they want to talk I tell them I'm driving and I'll call them back. End of story.

I don't see using the phone while dirivng as a problem, it's people who don't STOP using it that are the problem.

As for roundabouts, there was a proposal in my town recently to put a pair of roundabous in the MIDDLE of the highway to town. That got shot down REALLY fast. The people who are designing out roads must be obsessed with them because the revised design used them for the interchange, which has all the same problems you're talking about.

Roundabouts are nice, when everyone understands how to use them.

RE: ???
By dgingerich on 12/28/2012 6:49:04 PM , Rating: 2
The biggest mistake I see people make is pulling out too fast. Add that on top of not looking first, not looking round, and not being aware of their surroundings, and you get deadly consequences. I see far too many people, constantly, just get in the car, start it up, and pull out full speed without looking. I've almost been hit by these people three times in the last week, and that is with spending 4 of the last 7 days indoors. (It happened twice at Target yesterday in one aisle while I was trying to drive to the exit of the parking lot.) cameras aren't going to help that at all.

RE: ???
By Strunf on 12/31/2012 11:06:50 AM , Rating: 2
What you said makes sense in this case, if you have kids you shouldn't leave them alone while going in reverse this cause you can't see anything that is less than 1m tall with that kind of vehicle, you either put your kids in the car before going out or you ask them to stay away from the driveway, this is just common sense, however I see a few occasions where a rear sensor would be useful for instance if you are in a parking lot and you're backing out of your spot you may not see someone else kid if he's not tall enough.

The camera is probably not even needed, the rear sensors to help you park are almost a standard feature in most new vehicles and that already gives you a sign that there's something or someone behind your vehicle.

RE: ???
By nathan v on 12/31/2012 6:58:36 PM , Rating: 2
In medicine, we used to deal with safety by assigning responsibility, punishing transgression, and encouraging people to be careful. What we found was that that didn't work very well. We had a great product that was saving lives, but it was also taking lives, and telling people to be more careful didn't impact the frequency with which it did so.

What ended up working? (Well, to the extent that it works, because we still take lives.) Redundancy. Rather than assigning responsibility to individuals or small groups, we asked larger groups to take responsibility for patient safety. What we found is that when more people took responsibility, people still made errors, but those errors didn't lead to bad outcomes like death, because they were caught before they had a chance to.

That's exactly what's going on. No, it wasn't the responsibility of auto-makers to help prevent these kind of deaths. But it is now.

Obviously, any changes like this have to be considered in detail. It's not impossible for redundancy to paradoxically reduce safety. It's not impossible for the cost to outweigh the benefit. But in general, this change in paradigm from "assign responsibility" to "improve outcomes" is responsible for much of what we take for granted in our sweet, modern lives.

RE: ???
By Gurthang on 1/2/2013 8:32:23 AM , Rating: 2
I have a car with a "back-up" camera and while most of the time I prefer the view just turning my head around. The camera does help in sometimes. Mine never seems to get foggy like my rear window does and has a better view though the wide angle view makes it harder to judge distances.

Personally I would love to have an enhanced rear-view that covered not just the rear but also extended a little beyond the "blind spots". Now that would be useful.

Mind you I also think that cameras are not necessarily the best method. One way might be if you could get a series of sonar sensors placed around the vehicle, front corners, blind sides, rear corners, and rear center and tied it to some stong vibration motors in the drivers seat arranged in such a way as to pasively let the driver know clearly where they are about to hit something. (triggered by the distance closing rate moving beyond some threshholds)

As to should the government be mandating this.. meh.. I would rather see it mandated only when the vehicle's design fails to give sufficient "rear visibility".

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