The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a new rule: By May 2018, all new cars and light trucks must be equipped with rearview cameras.
It is estimated that, including vehicles that already have systems installed, 58 to 69 lives will be saved each year once all vehicles on the road are equipped. The final rule applies to all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, including passenger vehicles, buses and trucks.
An estimated 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries are caused every year by backover accidents. Of those, children under the age of 5 account for 31 percent of the fatalities and adults 70 years of age and older account for 26 percent.
For children of all ages, an average of two die every week and 48 are injured when someone accidentally backs over them, said Janette Fennell, president and founder of KidsAndCars.org, a nonprofit group that pushed the government to begin tracking such tragedies.
If Ms. Fennell had any wish, it was that automakers were required to install the cameras sooner. "It is disappointing that they are giving automakers until 2018 to comply," she said.
Rear cameras already are standard or optional equipment on 85 percent of model year 2014 vehicles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That compares with only 5 percent of vehicles available with rear cameras in 2005.
As long awaited as this requirement has been, I am looking forward to 2018 when we can finally implement this rule. Pedestrians, especially children, have always been at a huge risk when they are around cars because their size does not allow them to be seen by the driver.
As a child injury lawyer, I understand the importance of preventative measures when it comes to children's safety. In this case, I think that rearview cameras will drastically decrease the number of backover accidents and injuries for children and other pedestrians alike.