All new cars and light trucks sold in the United States will be required to have rearview cameras by May 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Monday.
The regulation is intended to prevent deaths and injuries related to drivers backing into pedestrians. The new requirement will apply to all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, Reuters reported.
“Rear visibility requirements will save lives, and will save many families from the heartache suffered after these tragic incidents occur,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman in a statement.
Currently, there are an average of 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by backover accidents, according to NHTSA. More than half of all backover fatalities are children under five years old and adults over 70. With the implementation of this new technology NHTSA predicts that 58 to 69 lives will be saved each year.
Several automakers have already installed rearview cameras in vehicles in response to consumer demand, Reuters reports.
NHTSA estimates that it will cost between $132 and $142 to install each vehicle with a rearview camera that meets the new requirements.
While safety advocates welcome the new regulation, they blame the Obama administration for delaying the rule. The Transportation Department, which oversees NHTSA, was directed by Congress in 2008 to issue a rear visibility standard by 2011 but was delayed repeatedly.
“While the administration delayed the rule, more children died in backover accidents,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, in a statement to Reuters. “The cost of regulatory delay, in human lives, could hardly be more clear than it is today.”
The new rearview cameras must give drivers a 10-foot-by-20-foot field of view behind the vehicle, according to NHTSA. There are also additional requirements the video system must meet, including image size.