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NHTSA issues final rule requiring rear visibility systems

The US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a final rule requiring rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds (4,535kg) by May 2018. The new rule is intended to enhance the safety of vehicles by significantly reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries caused by ‘backover’ accidents. The new rule requires all vehicles under the prescribed weight, including buses and trucks, manufactured on or after May 1, 2018, to come equipped with rear visibility technology that expands the field of view to enable the driver to detect areas behind the vehicle to reduce death and injury resulting from backover incidents. The field of view must include a 3m x 6m (10-20 feet) zone directly behind the vehicle. The system must also meet other requirements, including image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation.

On average, there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year in the USA caused by backover crashes. NHTSA has found that children under 5 years old account for 31% of backover fatalities each year, and adults 70 years of age and older account for 26%. Once the entire on-road vehicle fleet is equipped with rear visibility systems meeting the new requirements, 58 to 69 lives are expected to be saved each year. “Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents; our children and seniors,” said US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx. “As a father, I can only imagine how heart wrenching these types of accidents can be for families, but we hope that today’s rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents.” The NHTSA’s acting administrator, David Friedman, added, “Rear visibility requirements will save lives, and will save many families from the heartache suffered after these tragic incidents occur. We’re already recommending this kind of life-saving technology through our NCAP program and encouraging consumers to consider it when buying cars.”

April 1, 2014

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