NHTSA to require backup cameras on all vehicles
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a proposed rule Monday requiring all new light vehicles — including cars, SUVs, trucks and vans — to have "rear-view visibility systems," in effect, requiring backup cameras.Allegedly, 200 people a year are killed when people back up without looking behind them. Now, I'll buy that for a certain percentage, maybe it is a small child that broke free from a watchful parent and just happened to dart behind a car. I don't think that percentage is very large, though. I think for the VAST majority of those 200 incidents, it's people not paying attention.
The rule -- which would be final in 60 days -- would start phasing in on May 1, 2016 models and be at 100% May 1, 2018.
Guess what? Mandatory back-up cameras aren't going to make people pay better attention. They'll just be able to see the person they're about to run over.
Waving the magical government mandatory wand doesn't make problems go away. By forcing car manufacturers to include another complicated piece of electronic equipment (they claim the cost is $150. Try to get one installed for that little. Seriously), all they're doing is kicking the can down the road. I'll wager the cameras don't make a statistically significant dent in the number of people run over.
The problem isn't that drivers can't see the people behind them, it's that the drivers aren't looking. The video that plays in the accompanying story is a very sad one indeed - a woman out for a walk was backed over by a teenaged driver. It's terrible, certainly, and 100% avoidable. But to think that a backup camera would make a teenager pay better attention? REALLY?
What bothers me the most, though, is that we once again take the blame away from where it belongs - the driver not paying attention - and put it on something else - the car not having a camera. Rather than say, hey, that driver did something negligent and should be punished (funny, the story doesn't mention if the 16 year old that hit the woman went to jail...), we mandate cameras for all cars, clap our hands together, and declare the problem solved.
Until the next time someone gets run over because a driver failed to devote proper attention to the task at hand...
That is all.