“Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents—our children and seniors,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
The new rule requires all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, 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 of a motor vehicle to detect areas behind the vehicle. The field of view must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. The system must also meet other requirements including image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation, according to the NHTSA.
The final rule complements action taken by the NHTSA last year to incorporate rear visibility technology into the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). The NCAP program now highlights for consumers the vehicle makes and models equipped with the agency’s Recommended Advanced Technology Features that can help drivers avoid crashes and reduce other safety risks. Forward collision warning (FCW) and lane departure warning (LDW) systems are also highlighted under NCAP at www.safercar.gov.
NHTSA said in a news release that it “took time on this regulation to ensure that the policy was right and (to) make the rule flexible and achievable. In fact, at this point, many companies are installing rear visibility systems on their own, due to consumer demand.”
Fifty-eight to 69 lives are expected to be saved each year once the entire on-road vehicle fleet is equipped with rear visibility systems meeting the requirements of the NHTSA’s final rule, according to the government agency. On average, there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by backover crashes. NHTSA has found that children under 5 years old account for 31 percent of backover fatalities each year, and adults 70 years of age and older account for 26 percent, according to the agency.