In an effort to prevent low-speed driveway accidents, federal regulators are poised to enact a rule requiring that all passenger vehicles be equipped with rear-view cameras starting in 2014.
Accidental driveway runovers are not a new concern, but the increasing popularity of large SUVs and crossovers with poor near-vehicle visibility — and the increasing tendency for carmakers to favor visibility-restricting higher beltlines on all cars — has put a renewed emphasis on awareness of one's surroundings, especially while backing up.
Around 220 deaths per year are attributed to backup accidents, with slightly less than half of the victims being small children. Regulators say perhaps 100 fatalities might be prevented each year with full camera implementation. More significantly, though, over 8,000 injuries may be avoided annually.
While this will surely rankle gearheads already at odds with safety regulations, mainstream buyers are already making backup cameras a normal feature and automakers don't seems to mind the additional cost. There's a benefit in this for the more tech-savvy gearheads who want to hack the systems to show rear-mounted video while driving.
(Hat tip to ttyymmnn!
Photo Credit: Brian Hoecht