National Consumers League

NCL hails long-awaited federal backup camera automotive standard

May 1, 2018

Contact: NCL Communications, Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2831

Washington, DC—The long-awaited requirement that all cars have rear backup cameras—a standard issued in 2014—went into effect today. The National Consumers League has issued the following statement, which may be attributed to Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

Although we were disappointed to have to wait until 2018, we welcome this safety breakthrough; consumers like and appreciate the myriad safety advantages that backup cameras provide. We are pleased that as of today, all newly-manufactured vehicles be will be equipped with a rearview backup camera.

We are particularly pleased that no longer will consumers need to pay for a rearview camera as an expensive option. These cameras improve rear visibility for drivers and will prevent needless deaths and injuries. The regulation advances the safety of everyone on the road, most importantly children, pedestrians, bicyclists, and pets. Backup camera requirements are part of a long list of safety requirements advocated for by consumers and safety groups, including airbags to protect occupants in a crash; electronic stability control (ESC); stronger roof crush requirements; and, ejection and side impact protection, among others. Safety standards mean that everyone, not just those who purchase luxury vehicles with built-in safety, is protected, from the buyer of the smallest and least expensive vehicle to the highest end. The cost of safety technologies quickly drops when they are made standard, so it’s a win-win: lives saved for less expense.

Among those who championed the original legislation mandating rear cameras were Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and John Sununu (R-NH); Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL); the numerous Senate and House cosponsors; KidsAndCars.org led by Advocates’ Consumer Co-Chair Janette Fennell; Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Public Citizen and numerous public health, consumer, and safety organizations. 

“We must thank those courageous families who suffered the unthinkable loss of their children in preventable backover incidents and pressed for government action. Enactment of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act in 2008 (Pub. Law 110-189), mandating the U.S. DOT to issue a standard, was a testament to what can be accomplished with bipartisanship leadership and citizens activating to motivate change and save lives,” said Greenberg.

Every year on average more than 200 people are killed and over 12,000 more are injured in backover crashes, according to the U.S. DOT. Over half of those killed are children under age five or adults 70 or older (U.S. DOT). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has determined that rearview cameras have already reduced backing crashes by 17 percent, and for drivers 70 and older, backing crashes went down by 40 percent. Moreover, rearview cameras can be expected to prevent nearly one in six police-reported backing crashes.

"We celebrate all those who worked so hard for so many years to put this standard into place and applaud the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for implementing the final rule," said Greenberg.

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About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit http://www.nclnet.org.