Lawmakers to Jump-Start Backup Camera Mandate

In 2007, Congress and President George W. Bush approved a law mandating that the government set automotive rear-visibility guidelines by the beginning of 2011. In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed that backup cameras be standard equipment by model-year 2014. Fast-forward to 2013 and there's still no rear-visibility regulation. Two lawmakers are trying to find out why.

The Detroit News is reporting that U.S. Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) are holding a press conference Thursday to jump-start the stalled rear-visibility initiative. According to the lawmakers, the mandate has been delayed four times since 2011 — most recently in December 2012 by then-Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood; he stepped down in January.

The representatives plan to urge NHTSA to move forward on its backup camera legislation. They will be joined by several parents of children killed in backup-related accidents. According to NHTSA, about 100 children younger than 5 die in backup crashes each year.

If passed, the mandate would be phased in. Under NHTSA's original timeline, 10% of an automaker's new vehicle lineup would need to be backup-camera equipped by September 2012, with 40% by the following September and 100% by September 2014.

That ship has obviously sailed, but that hasn't stopped some automakers from making a camera standard throughout their lineups. Honda for example, offers a standard backup camera on almost all of its vehicles; Hyundai and Kia offer one on many of their vehicles, too.

A 2012 Harris poll suggests that the public agress with the mandate despite the technology's costs. NHTSA says adding a backup camera to a car without an existing display screen will cost around $159 to $203 per vehicle, shrinking to between $58 and $88 for vehicles that already use display screens. The Harris poll found that consumers care more about safety features like backup cameras than they do about multimedia systems. 

Advocates urge regulators to mandate rear cameras in new cars (The Detroit News)
Backup Cameras Likely Mandated for 2014
Government Delays Backup Camera Decision


Matt C.

I find back up cameras far more distracting than useful. When I depend on it at any level it gets more of my attention than if I were to look around, check my mirrors, and backed up slowly. The only time I have ever found it useful was backing up to a trailer hitch with no one to guide me.


I agree with Matt C, definitely too attention consuming.


I happen to disagree with the thoughts stated by those above. A backup camera is just another tool that when used can eliminate potential blind spots, possibly saving the life of a small child and or pet. Backing can be perilous and high rear decks on many of today's cars tend to block objects under 3 feet high. Backing up hill makes it even worse. True, it may amount to information overload watching 3 mirrors and a screen as well but the effort would be more than worth it if it saved a life. Personally I find it reassuring to know what's behind me when I start backing.


For my Dodge Challenger, it is necessary. The rear of the car is to high to see out of without a cam. Plus, if cams were standard, maybe we wouldnt have all these cars taking 2 spots because they back up to far.


I love the rear back-up camera in my daughter's '12 Acura TL. Even on a rainy night it casts a lighted wide view so you can see everything clearly. I can't imagine buying a vehicle today without a back-up camera.


Today’s cars are becoming an information overload for our sense of sight. Infotainment systems, DICs, 3 mirrors and the front windshield all compete for this one sense. Not to mention Smart Phones. Fords “My Sync” and Cadillac’s “CUE” are examples where the sense of touch was displaced with the need to “look”, and the customers are not happy. Adding a rear back-up camera will only add to the demand on this over used sense. I would advocate the use of rearward looking sonar to put this new information burden on the sense of hearing so the driver is using two independent sources of information when it comes to the safety status when backing a vehicle up.


I think its ridiculous. that the government. can tell us that we have to have a backup camera , last i checked i was supposed to live in a free country lol. just another ploy. to get more money out of our pockets.its similar to the whole seatbelt law except the moneys goin into the auto companys pocket instead of theirs wen you'd get a ticket n with the gps n all tha i wouldn't put it past them that they have a wayg to tap into the camera systems n violate our rights even further

Bob in Houston

Sound monitors are more effective. If the driver doesn't use the camera, what good is it? You gonna make a law that says a driver has to look?

I got my backup camera from i love it


Its not forcing the consumer to purchase it its forcing the auto makers to equipped their vehicles with it. Back up cameras are not a substitute for checking your surroundings it is just an additional aide to prevent more accidents. i believe its a great step in the right direction with todays fast pace lifestyle. to many times do we forget to or neglect to check our surroundings and accidents happen. This needs to be put in to place as quickly as possible.


2014 Challenger
this car NEEDS A back-up camera to keep from running over kid's on there tricycles and bicycles because the reverse sensing system DOES NOT WORK .how do I know this ( I have A 2014 SRT8 Challenger )

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