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Momentum toward accident-reducing car cameras temporarily stalled

Saying that the U.S. Department of Transportation has “made significant progress” toward developing a final rule regarding the installation of rearview cameras on all passenger vehicles , Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood once again delayed the final deadline scheduled for the new law to go into effect.

New vehicles in Ohio and all other states were slated to have on-board cameras by September 2014, but that now appears to be in flux, although the momentum toward universal installation remains strong. Safety regulators are firmly convinced that rear cameras will significantly reduce car accidents, specifically those in which drivers strike pedestrians they cannot see while driving in reverse.

Those accidents often involve children. The government states that nearly 230 deaths result each year from drivers engaged in reverse who strike kids and other pedestrians who are not readily visible owing to vehicle blind spots.

LaHood says that “further study and data analysis” is necessary before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can issue “the most protective and efficient rule possible.” The government has already extended the deadline multiple times; just last month, LaHood stated that final standards would be issued by February 29. The goal now, he says, is by the end of this year.

Nearly 50 percent of all new cars and trucks already have back-up camera technology. The NHTSA estimates that, when all passenger vehicles have cameras installed, the death rate from rollback accidents will be reduced by about half.

Source: New York Times, “U.S. delays rule on rearview car cameras,” Nick Bunkley, Feb. 29, 2012