U.S.-Mandated Backup Cameras Have Been In The Works Since The Bush Administration

Backup cameras are now mandatory in all new cars built for the U.S. market. The standardization went into effect May 1, 2018 which was originally issued by the Department Of Transportation in 2014.

The initiative to make this safety feature compulsory roots back to 2008 when George W. Bush signed an act intended to help drivers detect pedestrians behind their vehicles.


The bill ordered NHTSA to issue a proposed standard by 2011, but their proposal got held up for several years. Eventually, consumer groups sued NHTSA in 2013 for repeated delays.

The following year NHTSA passed regulations making the cameras mandatory and gave automakers 4 years to implement the change.


While backup cameras aren’t new, they’ve often been rolled into pricier packages that included other, sometimes unrelated luxury features. But with the new regulation, this safety feature will be included on all models, including the cheapest base cars.

It stands to reason that consumer groups will start looking forward to standardizing other safety features like blind spot and lane departure warnings, and automatic emergency braking with forward-collision warnings.

It’s hard to argue against safer cars on principle, but of course all this technology costs money. So while it will be nice to have backup cameras and other collision-avoidance tech, the downside is, it makes cars cost more.

Worth it? You tell me.

Senior Video Producer at Jalopnik. With great horsepower comes great responsibility.


Neil Young & the Restless

Yay, now everyone will be able to think they don’t have to actually look around when they drive.

Or as my neighbor put it as she zoomed backwards down her driveway nearly running over my dog and myself as we approached on the sidewalk, “Oops, sorry. Didn’t see you there, the camera only points straight back.”