New Transportation Department Safety Rules to Improve Rear Visibility
The rule, which is in the proposal stages, comes from a Congressional mandate in the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007, named after a two-year-old child who was killed when his father accidentally backed over him at the family’s home.
Some car makers, ranging from BMW to Ford to Toyota, already have this technology, which uses a small camera typically placed above the license plate that sends live video to a display in the dashboard or, sometimes, the rear-view mirror, in certain models. These systems give drivers a vastly improved view of what is behind them as they back out of a parking spot or driveway. BMW already offers drivers an option that provides for 360° visibility.
The rule will start to impact cars built after September 2012 although it will be phased in over a two-year period. It will expand the required field-of-view for all cars, pickup trucks, minivans, and buses.
“There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in the agency’s statement announcing the new rules, which could cost automakers as much as $2.7 billion.
–Paul Riegler is Technology Editor of Executive Road Warrior.