NHTSA Delays Latest Ruling for “Rear-View” Cameras in Production Passenger Vehicles

As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my legal staff keep ourselves up-to-date on the latest federal and state legislation affecting car, truck and motorcycle accident law, as well as traffic safety and enforcement issues. Understanding that traffic accidents take the lives of many thousands of Americans ever year, as well as injuring, maiming and permanently disabling many more individuals whose only mistake was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Automobile and commercial trucking accidents are without a doubt a continuing threat to the health and safety of many Maryland motorists and their families. One of the more common accidents, this time involving pedestrians hurt by cars and trucks, is the typical reversing collision with a person on foot or injuring a bicycle rider. These sometimes fatal collisions can happen almost anywhere; from supermarket parking areas and multi-level parking structures to church parking lots and residential driveways.

As many of our readers may already have noticed, a number of automobile companies have had rear-view “backup” cameras from several years or more on selected vehicle models. And while more and more companies are including these devices as part of their multi-media hardware and software systems, there remain many cars that do not offer the feature.

According to recent news, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has apparently delayed its final ruling regarding federal requirements for a backup camera system in every new vehicle. As the second delay of this type by the agency, this is has set back the timeline for federally mandated “backover” prevention equipment in cars. For those who have never experienced these devices firsthand, they are rather useful in allowing a driver to see individuals and objects that might otherwise go unnoticed by a driver.

Although the Secretary of Transportation had stated that the agency would likely have final standards prepared before 2013, time will tell if there are any additional delays in the interim. As anyone who follows the goings on in Washington, D.C., knows, the gears of congress and the federal agencies can turn at a glacial pace, which can be beneficial at times, yet truly frustrating for others as well.

The rule itself, according to reports, is required as part of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007. This piece of legislation, passed four years ago, addresses numerous safety issues involving children and motor vehicles. It includes, as one would expect, mitigating the risk of injury to children by a vehicle operating in reverse, in which case the driver typically has a hard time seeing or cannot see at all a small child standing or playing behind the vehicle.

Named for a two-year-old toddler who was killed after his father accidentally backed his car over him in the family’s driveway, the law would require the addition of extra mirrors or camera devices on passenger vehicles that would enable a driver to view the area directly behind the car when backing up. In late 2010, the NHTSA stated that it would likely require all new cars, sport utility vehicles, minivans and other passenger vehicles to be fitted with “rear-mounted video cameras and in-vehicle video displays” that would allow the driver to see an expanded field of view behind the car or truck.

Car backup camera rule delayed again by NHTSA, ConsumerReports.org, February 29, 2012

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