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2011 vehicle back-up camera mandate still delayed

A 2010 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that roughly 228 pedestrians die every year in car accidents caused by vehicles backing up. And, approximately 44 percent of these incidences involve children under 5 years of age.

A high profile story about a young child who was severely injured in a vehicle back-up incident gained widespread media attention and forced Congress to take notice. In 2007 Congress passed a law that mandated the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration-a subset agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation-implement a rule requiring vehicle manufacturers include back-up cameras or warning signals in future passenger cars and trucks.

The rule was set for implementation in 2011. Now, almost 3 years later, it has yet to be put in place.

Reasons for the hold-up

According to reports, there has been several delays over the past couple of years-four to be exact. December of last year was the most recent.

Some equate the delays in full or part to the pressure put on car makers to use their resources to implement better rollover standards. The inability to come up with a mutually agreed upon rule may be another reason.

Whatever the reason, the most time passes without a mandate, the higher the likelihood of additional injuries. Estimates indicate that if the rule were properly implemented in 2011, the new 2014 models would all include some variation of back-up warning devices.

Pressure to execute

Fortunately, some are taking action to get the ball rolling. According to the Detroit News, one Democrat and one Republican from Congress recently held a press conference on the mandate in the hopes of putting the pressure on the NHTSA.

Car safety advocates are also doing their part. Last month, a lawsuit was lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the state of New York against the Obama administration.

Dire need for implementation

The good news is that many auto manufacturers have already voluntarily installed back-up cameras. In fact, roughly 53 percent of 2013 vehicles automatically come equipped with back-up systems and 79 percent come with available options for consumers.

However, additional pressure for all car makers may be needed. Many car makers are in business to create vehicles equipped with features that the public wants. Smaller windows for better fuel efficiency, and vehicles that sit higher up from the ground to enhance the field of view on the road are popular features. Sadly, both have resulted in less visibility in the tailgate area and increased the potential for rollover accidents.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Transportation indicates that it’s likely the new rule will not be rolled out until 2015.

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