On March 31st, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a final ruling requiring rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds (including buses and trucks) by May 2018. This new rule is an attempt to enhance vehicle safety and reduce the risk of fatalities and injuries due to backover accidents. According to NHTSA’s announcement, on average, there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries caused by backover crashes each year. Of the fatalities, 31% are children under the age of 5 and 26% are adults 70 years of age or older.
The NHTSA recognizes the life saving capabilities of rear visibility technology and hope that the regulation will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic and preventable accidents. This technology expands the field of view, allowing drivers to detect the area directly behind their vehicle and receive alerts if they are about to backup into something or, even worse, someone. According to the new regulations, the field of view must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone behind the vehicle. The system must also meet certain requirements including image size, linger time, response time, durability and deactivation.
Many car companies have begun installing rear visibility systems in most of their current models, due to rising consumer demand. The NHTSA advises consumers to consider this technology when making their next car purchase.