The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently announced a final rule requiring rear visibility technology in all new cars effective May 1, 2018, a move that is expected to help reduce deaths and injuries resulting from back over injuries.
The NHTSA’s ruling extends to all vehicle weighing under 10,000 pounds. That covers all passenger vehicles and some heavy duty models used by commercial enterprises. The rear visibility technology rule means that most cars will be equipped with cameras that extend the field of vision behind the vehicle with backup information revealed on a color display located on the dashboard.
The NHTSA has mandated a field of view that includes a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. Other requirements that must be met include image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation.
How may people are injured or killed each year by back over crashes? The NHTSA estimates that 15,000 people are injured annually and 210 die. Notably, nearly one in three such accidents involve children under the age of five with adults aged 70 and above accounting for another 25 percent of the accidents. Thus, society’s most vulnerable people are at risk, with backup cameras expected to reduce those numbers.
The NHTSA’s ruling comes after many years of lobbying by safety activists and passage of a law in 2008 by Congress. The administration admits that it carefully took its time to craft the ruling to ensure that its policy was “was right and [to] make the rule flexible and achievable.” Notably, many car manufacturers have been installing camera technologies without federal intervention, responding to consumer demand. Immediate gains in lives saved should reduce deaths by 58 to 69 people annually according to NHTSA projections.
The backup camera ruling is part of the administration’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). The program points out to consumers what vehicle makes and models come equipped with the agency’s Recommended Advanced Technology Features. These features, including forward collision warning and lane departure warning systems, have been proven to help drivers avoid crashes and reduce other safety risks.
“Linger time” is a term that should interest drivers and safety advocates alike. By that it describes how long an image should remain on the screen — four seconds at minimum to eight seconds at maximum. The longer time should help drivers that parallel park as well as those that are attempting to hook up a trailer as both require much gear shifting between reverse and forward gears.
For drivers of older vehicles, cars can be outfitted with quality aftermarket backup camera systems. Kits are available that include a 7-inch color display that can sit on the dashboard, a monitor mount, heavy duty cables, wiring harnesses, and commercial grade night vision cameras. These systems are compatible with today’s cars as they are outfitted with 12- to 24-volt DC units. Aftermarket kits are ideal as cameras can be mounted anywhere to extend the driver’s line of vision far beyond what their eyes can see.
Johnathan Chambers is a professional blogger that provides readers who love their vehicle with tips and advice to keep it running safe and efficient. He writes for Camera Source, where you can find the best backup camera systems for automotive, commercial and agricultural vehicles.
Photo courtesy of the Ford Motor Company.