Congress approved legislation in 2007 requiring the government to set rear visibility rules by February 2011. The Transportation Department has repeatedly exercised its power to delay the rule.
The regulation is aimed at helping eliminate blind zones behind vehicles that can hide the presence of pedestrians, especially young children and the elderly. NHTSA said adding cameras to all vehicles would reduce fatalities in back-up crashes from a range of 95 to 112 annually out of the nearly 300 annual back-over deaths.
“The fact is simple — installing rear cameras in cars will prevent injury and death,” U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the Commerce Committee said. “The administration needs to move forward with this commonsense safety measure because children’s lives are in jeopardy.”
In 2010, NHTSA acknowledged that on a cost-benefit analysis, the proposal on rear visiblity doesn’t save money — on a net basis it will add $700 million to $1.6 billion in added costs by 2014.
Had it been completed on time,10 percent of new vehicles would have had to comply by September 2012, 40 percent by September 2013 and 100 percent by September 2014.
Automakers get at least 18 months before new requirements take effect, so rear camera rules aren’t likely to take effect before the 2017 model year.