Backup Cams Are the Law; Now What?

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62 kids backup

As of May 1, backup cameras are required by law in new cars.  Local TV stations are running segments about the new law, like ABC13 in Houston, leading consumers to expect that the next car they buy will come with a camera.

In truth, there are still plenty of cars at dealerships from inventory months old that do not offer the cameras, presenting an opportunity for aftermarket expeditors.

If you’re an expediting dealer, now may be the time to approach, re-approach or make up with car dealers in your area who may be looking to load up on backup cameras for customers who are now expecting them.

“There’s going to be a 3 to 4 month window with a flurry of activity on the car dealer lot.  They have old inventory on their lot. I went to Huntington Beach Dodge Jeep Chrysler. I know the owner. He told me 70 percent of his inventory does not have a backup camera,” said former Alpine and American Road executive Steve Witt, now CEO of DST.

“It’s strongly recommended that the owner and not a salesperson spend one week [going to dealerships] with a one page promotional flier,” he said. “This is a beautiful time for the local retailers to create a new relationship with car dealers or strengthen relationships or even repair some damaged relationships.  This is a good momentum to get behind.”

Then there’s sales to consumers. As of two years ago about 60 percent of the cars on the road did not have a backup camera, said Witt.  “That’s a huge opportunity for the 12 volt specialty guys,” he said.

He suggests a large banner on the front of the store simply saying “Get Your Backup Camera Here,” and adding similar banners on all your social pages and your website.

Another suggestion, from is to approach local newspapers, radio and TV stations. They may be looking for a way to cover the new law with a local angle.

But again, there’s a short window of opportunity to capitalize on any media attention from the new law.

If you are going to local news stations, here’s what you need to know:

In 2014, after years of delays, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) finally issued a ruling stating car makers must include backup cameras in new vehicles by May 1, 2018.

The law is called the  Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act. It is named after a toddler who was backed over by his own father, a physician, when the toddler left the house unbeknownst to his parents. You can read the full story here.

Thousands of children are injured or killed from backover incidents each year.

More information may be found at


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  1. from my reading of the nhtsa publication-every car MANUFACTURED after may 1 2018 needs to have a backup camera installed.

    1. Correct. But there are still cars on the dealer lots manufactured in December or January that may not have a camera. So there’s a window of time when car dealers may be receptive to loading these vehicles up with cameras.

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