The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been on-again, off-again with its rear backup camera requirement, with the original implementation date expected to be as early as 2014. Now that 2015 models are starting to hit the road, that milestone has come and gone without industry-wide implementation. For a long time, manufacturers said the rearview camera requirement would add too much additional cost to vehicles. On the other hand, safety advocates and parents of children who were killed in reverse accidents lobbied hard to make the rear cameras mandatory.
The official wording of the rule will require all vehicles less than 10,000 pounds GVWR manufactured after May 1, 2018 to be equipped with rearview cameras. The field of view is required to cover a 10x20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. The rules also specify displayed image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation. The agency claims there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries a year caused by backover accidents. Children younger than 5 years old accounted for 31 percent of fatalities, and adults older than 70 accounted for 26 percent of deaths. Full implementation of the rearview camera mandate is expected to save 58 to 69 lives a year.