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12/12/2013 - NHTSA recommends rearview video systems

Innovative rearview video systems could help prevent car accidents

In an attempt to make today's vehicles safer than they already are, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made new suggestions that it hopes automakers will consider adopting.

Recently, the NHTSA indicated it will now recommend that vehicle manufacturers include rearview video systems to their lineup of vehicles, so that they come standard when consumers are in the market to purchase a car.

"As we've seen with other features in the past, adding rearview video systems to our list of recommended safety features will encourage both automakers and consumers to consider more vehicles that offer this important technology," said Anthony Foxx, the newly installed secretary of the Department of Transportation. "While adding this technology to our list of safety features is important, I remain committed to implementing the rear visibility rule as well."

In order for vehicles to be recognized as having a Recommended Advanced Technology Feature, the video system must satisfy certain requirements. The technology must display a 20-foot by 10-foot zone of what's behind the vehicle - appearing on the screen no more than two seconds after drivers begin backing up - and the objects must appear large enough for motorists to be able to judge whether they can continue to ride in reverse or come to a stop because something is in the way.

Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2,400 children each year are treated in hospitals after being backed over by a motorist who didn't see them. Additionally 60% of backing up-incidents that occur involve large vehicles, mainly vans, trucks or SUVs.

The comfort in knowing that children are safe is reason enough to have these safety devices installed. However, motorists may be able to score a discount on their auto insurance by having them as well, since safety is one of the ways in which insurers assess rates, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

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