Styling trends and the need for improved aerodynamics may be increasing the danger of accidents that occur while vehicles are backing up. The blind zones behind a vehicle are areas of great risk. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 221 deaths and 14,000 injuries are caused by back-over crashes every year. The blind zones behind many of the vehicles being produced today are larger than in older vehicles. One possible solution that has been discussed is the use of backup cameras.
A federal requirement to install backup cameras on all light cars and trucks has been in the works for some time. Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation announced that the release of a final federal requirement concerning such cameras would be delayed. When the rule was first proposed five years ago, it was intended to cover all 2014 models. It is unlikely that the rule will be ready in time to cover that year’s models, as many of them are scheduled to be built within a matter of months.
The delay may have come from flaws in the backup camera technology currently being used in some vehicles. The screens showing the rear-view images are often delayed in displaying the scene after the vehicle is put into reverse. The delay covers the important moments right after a vehicle is put into reverse. The federal requirement as discussed would mandate a one-second or less delay. Many of the current devices are unable to meet that requirement.
According to Kids and Cars, the most common victims of back-over accidents are children between 12 and 23 months of age. In most fatal incidents, the driver is a parent or close relative of the child. Backup cameras may be a key component in preventing countless tragic accidents.
Source: USA Today, “Video: Why backup cameras needed more than ever,” by Fred Meier, 21 May 2012