The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed requiring backup cameras on all new vehicles by 2014 to prevent drivers from backing over pedestrians.
This is going to cost automakers (and auto buyers) more than $2 billion, but I think it’s well worth the cost. The pedestrians who will be protected will mostly be small children and the elderly. These two groups make up the majority of people who are injured or killed each year by vehicles backing over them.
The NHTSA says almost 300 people are killed every year in back up accidents, and about 18,000 people are injured. The fatality stories are always sad, and usually are about parents killing their own children. What could be more tragic than that?
On a personal note, my wife’s car has a rear view camera, but my car does not. I always feel more secure backing up in her car than in mine, and that’s why I am strongly in favor of this feature being mandatory on all vehicles. The cost is not that great — anywhere from $50 to $200, depending on the type of system used.