Two year old Cameron Gulbransen died in a tragic and preventable accident, a type of accident that occurs too often - Cameron was accidentally backed over by his father while playing in the driveway. In response to Cameron's death, Congress passed the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007.
The act sets out to end backup accidents by trying to "eliminate" vehicles' blind spots. As part of the act, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) set out to implement a rule requiring all cars, trucks, vans and buses of up to 10,000 pounds to install backup cameras. The rule that was introduced in December of 2010 has been put on hold temporarily.
Following a two month comment period, the NHTSA announced the postponement of the final rule. It is unclear if the postponement will delay the proposed implementation schedule. The rule requires ten percent of new vehicles to include the camera by September 2012, and 100 percent compliance by September 2014.
USA Today Drive On speculated that the delay may have been over a disagreement in the amount of time that it took for the image behind the vehicle to appear on screen once the vehicle was put into reverse.
According to NHTSA estimates, approximately 18,000 people are injured in backup accidents each year, including 292 deaths. These car accidents disproportionately affect young children and the elderly. Forty-four percent of the fatalities are of children under the age of five; seniors make up another 33 percent of the fatalities.
While the cameras, if properly checked, will undoubtedly help to protect against injury and save lives, it is imperative that drivers know exactly what is in their blind spots before moving. NHTSA Administrator David Strickland noted, "[W]hile these changes will make a difference, drivers must remember that no technology can, or should, replace full attention and vigilance when backing up."