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NHTSA to Require 'Backup Cameras' in Most New Cars by 2018

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a final safety rule that will make it mandatory for many new vehicles to include a "backup camera" to increase rearview visibility.

NHTSA will require new vehicles under 10,000 pounds to include rear visibility technology if they're manufactured on or after May 1, 2018, according The Associated Press. The ruling includes buses and trucks.

The backup cameras will expand the driver's field of vision to encompass a 10-by-20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle and hopefully reduce the number of traffic injuries and fatalities in backup accidents.

Accident Statistics

On average, 292 people are killed and more than 18,000 people are injured annually in accidents involving a vehicle backing up. Frequently, the victims are young children or elderly people.

Among those killed in backup accidents, approximately 100 are children under the age of 5. Further, children in this at-risk age group account for about 2,000 injuries each year.

Kids may dart into the street to chase after a toy or simply be unaware of their surroundings and walk directly into the path of a car that's backing up. With backup cameras in more vehicles, drivers will have a better view of what's happening behind their vehicles, and it could eliminate some blind spots.

Costs to the Automobile Industry

Under NHSTA's new rule, the cost to the auto industry to implement the changes is projected to be between $546 million to $924 million in 2018. Although the cost is huge, the NHSTA thinks that 59 to 73 percent of all vehicles purchased in 2018 will already have the cameras installed, according to The Detroit News. In fact, Honda and Subaru have both announced that they're voluntarily making cameras standard in all their vehicles.

Since it'll be costly for the auto industry, NHSTA rolled out a staggered backup camera plan. So after May 2016, automakers need to produce 10 percent of vehicles with cameras. That number climbs to 40 percent after May 2017, and all vehicles must be equipped with the backup cameras by May 2018, The Detroit News reports.

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