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Rearview cameras may become mandatory

Fri, 02 Mar 2012

Rearview cameras may become a mandatory feature in all passenger cars by 2014 if US Congress approves a rule submitted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Auto safety regulators have taken the decision to submit a final rule to Congress after figures emerged from non-profit group that stated that two children die and about 50 are injured every week when someone accidentally backs over them in a vehicle.

In one quite shocking public-service announcement showed that 62 children could fit behind a large SUV without being visible to the driver in any of the mirrors.

The increasing size of passenger vehicles in all segments – as well as a trend towards smaller glass areas – has also increasing size of the vehicle's blind spot, best illustrated by the statistic that in the US from 2006 to 2010 there were a recorded 448 fatalities from 'backover' incidents compared to 88 in a four-year period a decade earlier.

However, although many reversing incidents involve SUVs and trucks, some of the biggest blind spots are on passenger cars where the trunk has a high deck lid and the driver sits low to the ground. Motoring magazine, Edumnds measures the Cadillac STR-V coupe's blind spot as 101 feet long, compared with about 40 feet for minivans from Toyota and Honda.

By Rufus Thompson