The US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a final rule requiring rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg) by May 2018. NHTSA says that its new rule enhances the safety of these vehicles by reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries caused by backover accidents.
The final rule requires all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, including buses and trucks, manufactured on or after 1 May 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 to reduce death and injury resulting from backover incidents. The field of view must include a 10-foot by 20-foot (3 m by 6 m) 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 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%.
Many companies are already installing rear visibility systems on their own due to consumer demand. Including vehicles that already have systems installed, 58 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 final rule.
The final rule complements action taken by the agency last year to incorporate rear visibility technology into the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). NHTSA’s NCAP program—known for its 5-Star Safety Ratings—highlights for consumers the vehicle makes and models that are 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.