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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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camera helpfulness
By Khenglish on 12/28/2012 10:40:36 AM , Rating: 2
I was a hotel valet for a while, and I parked cars with and without backup cameras. They are helpful for things like figuring out how much room you have, but they do nothing for safety. My opinion of them is that they are like side view mirrors. They can be helpful, but just like when changing lanes, you need to turn your head and look too. I see the same people who change lanes by only looking at the side mirror, backing up by only looking at the backup cam.

Backup cams only give you a decent view of what is directly behind you, but not what is directly behind the corners of the bumper, or incoming traffic. Although a backup cam does add viewing in addition to the rear window, it does not give a better view than personally checking behind the car before getting in.

A good driver will always look behind their car before getting in it to back up. While backing up, a good driver will constantly be looking behind, and will be able to see if something comes in from the side into the low blind area. I can only see the camera being helping by showing you something that may have moved behind the car quickly, but was missed because you were checking the other side.

As for bad drivers, or drivers who are usually good but rushed or distracted, I see backup cams encouraging unsafe driving behavior. Some people are too lazy and inconsiderate to ever look behind, so I suppose that the cam will help make these people safer. I think this will be offset though by the people who without a camera usually check behind, but will do so less often since they do have a camera.

I see people just using the backup cam so that they can be lazy and not turn their heads. I drive around an hour on a 6 lane (3 each side) highway every weekday, and probably twice per month I have to get out of the way of someone moving into my lane because they did not check their blind spot. Why didn't they check their blind spot? It's because they were lazy and considered the side view mirror to be "good enough", even though it isn't. People will be the same way with backup cams. They'll think the camera is "good enough", and not look properly.

There is no reason to legally require backup cams. The government should only legally require something when it is obvious that it will help, and that is certainly not the case with backup cameras.

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