Backup Cam/Visibility Law Due by January

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Rules mandating backup cameras or new steps in rear visibility in new cars may be finalized before January 2015.

On Christmas Day, the Transportation Dept. finally sent rules mandating the car makers take steps to prevent backup incidents to the White House for review, as reported in a story we missed by Automotive News in January.

It is not clear if the Transportation Dept. required backup cameras in its rules for new cars or just required the redesign of car mirrors, for example.  But the notice said that the administration plans to release the final ruling by January 2015.

The Fed might even finalize the rules for the law by June 30, said David Strickland, former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said The Detroit News.

But car makers are allowed 18 months before implementing a safety law, so we wouldn’t see the new rear visibility improvements until the 2017 model year.

In September, a suit was filed against the Fed for delaying the mandatory use of backup cameras as originally required in a law passed by Congress in 2008 called the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act.

The bill was signed into law and gave the Transportation Dept. three years to make its ruling to improve visibility.   But the deadline came and went after many delays.  Originally it was expected that backup cameras would be made mandatory by 2014.

Backup cameras are now available on 7 out of 10 new vehicles as standard or optional equipment. But deaths from backover incidents continue to grow and more than 200 people are killed and 17,000 injured each year as a result, says the DOT.  Almost half of the victims are under the age of 5.

Half of backover deaths could be prevented by backup cameras said NHTSA itself in late 2010.  It would cost about $180 per vehicle to include the cameras in new cars.

Source: Automotive News, The Detroit News

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