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NHTSA Announces Final Rule Requiring Rear Visibility Technology in New Vehicles

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced today that has issued a final rule requiring rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018.

Backover crashes, according to the NHTSA are defined as crashes where non-occupants of vehicles (such as pedestrians or cyclists) are struck by vehicles that are moving in reverse. Each year an estimated 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries are caused by backover crashes in the United States. The NHTSA reported that 31% of those fatalities occur among children aged 5 and younger, and 26% occur among adults aged 70 and older.

The new rule seeks to enhance safety for both drivers and pedestrians, and help reduce the risk and number of backup accidents which often lead to serious and fatal injuries. In compliance with the rule, automakers will have to equip new vehicles with rear visibility technology that expands the field of view to enable the driver to detect areas behind the vehicle. The field of view, according to the NHTSA’s website, must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. The system must also meet other requirements including image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation.

For years the agency has persuaded automakers to adopt the technology into newer vehicles as well as encouraged consumers to buy models with rear backup assistance. In fact, there is a great demand by consumers for cars with rearview cameras, that many automakers have already installed the technology into their vehicles.

Rear visibility systems meeting the requirements of the final rule are predicted to have an effectiveness of 28-33%, which is substantially higher than other systems (e.g., sensor-only systems) that are currently available. Including vehicles that already have systems installed, the NHTSA estimates that between 58 and 69 lives will be saved each year once the entire on-road vehicle fleet is equipped with rear visibility systems meeting the requirements of today’s final rule.

The final rule complements action taken by the agency last year to incorporate rear visibility technology into the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). NHTSA’s NCAP program, which is widely known for its 5-Star Safety Ratings, highlights for consumers the vehicle makes and models that are equipped with the agency’s Recommended Advanced Technology Features that can help drivers avoid crashes and reduce other safety risks. Forward collision warning (FCW) and lane departure warning (LDW) systems are also highlighted under NCAP.

On their website, the NHTSA offered some safety tips for drivers and parents on how to prevent injuries and fatalities to children, caused by backover incidents:

– Teach children not to play in or around cars.
– Supervise children when in and around vehicles.
– Always walk around your vehicle and check the area around it before backing up.
– Be aware of small children-the smaller a child, the more likely it is you will not see them.
– Teach children to move away from a vehicle when a driver gets in it or if the car is started.
– Have children in the area stand to the side of the driveway or sidewalk so you can see them as you are backing out of a driveway or parking space.
– Make sure to look behind you while backing up slowly in case a child dashes behind your vehicle unexpectedly.
– Roll down your windows while backing out of your driveway or parking space so that you’ll be able to hear what is happening outside of your vehicle.
– Teach your children to keep their toys and bikes out of the driveway.
– Because kids can move unpredictably, you should actively check your mirrors while backing up.

For more information and to read the full article visit NHTSA.gov.

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