Backup Cameras Are Now Mandatory in New Automobiles Sold in the US
New technologies in vehicles typically start as optional add-ons. In some cases, these technologies eventually become standard offerings – but that can take a long time. When the new technologies are safety features, it can be a problem if they're not included because car buyers who don't pay for the upgrades end up in vehicles that are riskier.
Now, however, all buyers of new cars will get one important safety add-on without having to pay for an upgrade: backup cameras. As USA Today explained, backup cameras are now mandatory for all vehicles that are sold within the United States.
While this is great news since these cameras can help to prevent serious or even fatal accidents, drivers still may find themselves in situations where this technology, or other vehicle components, don't work properly if the car they buy turns out to be a defective one. A California lemon law attorney can provide assistance to consumers who buy cars that have repeated problems.
New Mandate Requires Backup Cameras for All New Vehicles Sold in America
Efforts to make backup cameras mandatory first began when George W. Bush was president, so it took 10 years for plans for universal backup cameras to come to fruition. These cameras have traditionally been part of upgrades or luxury features, but as of May 1, 2018, they'll now be included as part of the base equipment.
The new mandate requiring backup cameras was created by a regulation issued by the Department of Transportation in 2014. The regulation was supported by consumer advocates as well as by property and casualty insurers and safety groups. These groups actually sued the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2013, arguing that the NHTSA hadn't taken enough initiative to standardize safety technologies.
Consumer groups are also pushing for other advanced-safety features to be standardized and mandated as well, including blind spot warnings; lane departure warnings; and forward-collision alerts. The goal is to ensure that these safety technologies are available to all drivers — even those who cannot afford to pay for special upgrades — in order to make the roads safer.
Automated braking technology that is part of forward-collision avoidance has been shown in studies to reverse collisions by as much as 62% when rear automated braking is installed and to reduce front-end accidents by around 50 percent when forward collision warnings are installed. Accidents resulting from changing lanes are also reduced by 14 percent, and both side-swipe and head-on collisions are reduced by around 11 percent when cars come equipped with lane departure warnings.
Many automakers are already pledging to voluntarily include many of these safety technologies as standard features by 2022; however, consumer advocates want these features to be required sooner than this date.
If new mandates are put in place to require these safety features, it will be important to ensure that they work properly so consumers can depend upon them. If a car's features fail to work repeatedly, a California lemon law attorney should be consulted by the vehicle owner for help exploring options.