The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced last month that vehicles built after May 1, 2018 will be required to have a backup camera feature. This new rule is an attempt to reduce the number of backover car accidents.
According to NHTSA, backover accidents kill 292 people each year—noting that children under the age of 5 account for 30% of these fatalities.
Parking Sensors Ineffective
In the past, parking sensors were regarded as the most effective way to prevent backover car accidents, but a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety determined cameras were far more effective. The IIHS conducted a study in which drivers used only backup cameras, only parking sensors, or both equipment at the same time.
Despite the “two heads are better than one” theory, drivers were more successful at backing up when cameras were the only backup technology installed on the vehicle.
The test used a pole with different colored bands painted on it to represent children of various heights. On average, if the child was within 27 feet of the back bumper, the driver could neither see them through mirrors, nor turning to look out the back window. Not surprisingly, large cars and SUVs typically scored the lowest in the visibility study, while small cars performed the best.
Regulation Back-Up Cameras
The new regulation was originally announced to go into effect by September of 2014, but it has been pushed back as far as 2018 due to the high cost of implementation. This is the fifth time the mandates have been pushed back several months—a victory for automobile manufacturers who are resistant to the legislation. The new rule will cost the automotive industry somewhere between $1.9 billion and $2.7 billion annually.
Despite the continued delay, manufacturers are beginning to incorporate the technology into vehicles already. As awareness of backover accidents continues to grow, so does consumer demand.
Preventing Backover Car Accidents
Always check behind your vehicle before backing up. If you are a parent follow these prevention tips to reduce the chance of a backover accident;
- Teach children not to play around cars
- When backing up, do so slowly, especially if you are going down a hill, which can decrease visibility.
- Teach children to move away from a vehicle if a driver gets in it.
- Roll your windows down when backing up, so that you can hear what’s happening around your vehicle
- Actively look behind you and check mirrors frequently
- Teach children to keep their toys out of the driveway.
These tips should be followed alongside back-up cameras. Even if your vehicle is equipped with a camera, stay alert when backing up—children are known to move quickly and unpredictably.
Complexities of Backover Accidents
Backover accidents can be particularly complicated, as they often involve family relationships or friendships that aren’t typically found in other auto accidents. If you or your child has been injured because of a backover car accident, visit our website for more information, or contact us for a free consultation. Our lawyers will handle your unique accident case with sensitivity and professionalism and during this difficult time.