New federal regulations making rearview cameras mandatory for all new cars sold in the United States took effect on May 1. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the regulations four years ago and set the 2018 deadline to give car makers time to implement the changes. The NHTSA expects the numbers of injuries and deaths that occur from vehicle back-overs to drop significantly.
The most recent NHTSA data available shows that car accidents of this type cause an estimated 15,000 injuries and 210 fatalities every year. Groups most likely to die in such an accident are children younger than 5 (30 percent) and seniors 70 and older (more than 25 percent).
Rearview mirrors alone do not allow a driver to see what is in the blind zone behind the car. Studies conducted by Consumer Reports have measured the blind spots behind different types of vehicles. They found that while small sedans may have a blind spot of six feet, a full-size SUV may have an area of 44 feet behind the vehicle where the driver cannot see anything. The studies used traffic cones to represent small children who can easily be missed and run over if they are in a vehicle’s blind spot.
Rearview cameras depict the surroundings in the rear of the vehicle and are activated by putting the car into reverse gear. The new regulation requires any vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds must come equipped with the technology, regardless of whether the vehicle is manufactured in the U.S. or abroad. Most cars, SUVs, and trucks fall within the weight requirement of 10,000 pounds.
Consumer groups like Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety and Consumer Union have long campaigned for making rearview cameras mandatory. A statement from Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety said that besides saving lives, the new regulation would save consumers money, because previously, rearview cameras were considered an upgrade option that had to be added on to the price of the car. Now every car must come equipped with the safety feature as standard.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) notes that 97 percent of all 2018 new cars already have the rearview cameras. Back in 2006 they were still relatively rare, with only eight percent of cars using them.
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another party, the skilled Pittsburgh car accident lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. will fight to get you maximum compensation. Let us handle your legal needs so that you can focus on your recovery. Call 800-243-6095 today to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. From our offices in Pittsburgh, we serve clients in New Castle, and Washington, Pennsylvania as well as individuals in Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County.