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Backup Camera Federal Ruling Pushed Back, Way Back

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On: Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 4:21PM | By: Elizabeth Puckett

Backup Camera Federal Ruling Pushed Back, Way Back

There are some very frustrated and angry safety advocates left behind after a major pushback in the backup camera mandate by the federal government. The ruling has had many waiting for quite some time, and now safety advocates will have to wait another 1-1/2 years before any conclusion will be reached.

This ruling concerns the mandating of backup cameras in all vehicles. Many believe that forcing automakers to install such devices in their automobiles will save hundreds of lives every year.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood issued a letter to Congress stating that it will be in later half of January of 2015 before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will finalize any ruling on the issue.

The NHTSA acknowledges that an estimated 292 deaths occur annually in the United States due to backing vehicle accidents. This number includes the fatalities of 100 kids under the age of five years old. In addition to these deaths, 14,000 people are injured by back-over incidents yearly.

The federal ruling is hung up on how to come up with rules that are fair in the eyes of both consumer advocates and auto makers. Such technology is expensive and many are looking for ways to bring down the cost to make it easier for auto companies to move forward with these safety devices. Early plans for this mandate would cost an estimated $1.9 billion to $2.7 billion yearly. This expense would almost certainly be passed straight to the consumer, which would likely have a negative impact on an industry newly in recovery from the recession.

Even if the mandate is pushed through, it won’t take effect in the auto industry until 2017 at the earliest. It could also include a very slow and gradual phase-in.

One side of this argument is saying that 2017 and beyond is just too long to wait to make safety changes, while others argue that the federal government should stay out of the issue entirely.

A more timely possibility is updating incentives for car makers to voluntarily include backup cameras in their vehicles. Many auto manufactures are already taking the initiative with backup cameras in their fleet. Honda has unveiled plans to include backup cameras in all vehicles as they undergo model updates.

Do you think the federal government should be involved in this safety issue?


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