Are Rearview Cameras Mandatory?

Rearview cameras have been mandatory in all U.S. vehicles since May of 2018 to increase drivers’ field of vision, helping to eliminate dangerous blind spots and save the lives of children, people with disabilities, and elders.

In the United States, 50 children are backed over by a vehicle every week. This is usually caused by a driver who cannot see the child due to a “blind zone” behind the vehicle. Nearly 60% of the time backover accidents involve a van, truck, SUV, or another large vehicle, with limited ground-level visibility.

Lawmakers recognized that poor rearview visibility in some vehicles was causing preventable injuries and deaths, most of which were sustained by young children and elderly individuals.

In 2008 the United States Congress signed into law the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act. In the Act, Congress directed the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish vehicle rear-visibility standards by 2011. 

After delays, the NHTSA standards were announced in 2014. The standards required all passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. to allow for a 10 by 20-foot area of visibility directly behind the car through the use of mirrors and backup cameras.  

What Is a Rearview Camera?

A rearview camera (also called backup cameras or rearview video systems) is a safety technology that utilizes a rear-facing camera horizontally flipped so the output is a mirror image. This makes the display consistent with a vehicle’s factory-equipped rearview mirrors.

The rearview video system appears in the dashboard or a small display in the rearview mirror when the driver shifts his or her vehicle into reverse.  Rearview cameras help drivers see behind their vehicles to stop backover accidents and protect children and senior citizens.

Other driver assistance technologies include lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, forward-collision braking, and blind-spot monitoring. These systems use radar and cameras to notify drivers of possible dangers near the vehicle.

These technologies are an added safety tool for seeing hidden dangers and should be used along with (not as a replacement for) rearview mirrors and turning around to look.

The NHTSA estimates that mandatory rearview cameras may save 58 lives annually. In spite of regulations and safety technologies, however, accidents can still happen. A distracted driver may not pay attention to the camera display, or an impaired driver may not be able to respond in time to avoid a collision. It’s also always a good idea to physically turn your head to look out the rear window as well as use your rearview camera.

Seek Legal Advice for Backover Accidents

If you have been involved in a backover accident that caused injury or death to you or a loved one, it is crucial that you obtain advice from a personal injury lawyer. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you could have the right to financial compensation for lost wages and medical expenses due to injuries sustained in the crash. A qualified attorney can help protect your legal rights and make sure you meet important deadlines. 

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