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From Products Liability Law Daily, March 31, 2014

NHTSA announces new rear visibility technology standard

By Pamela C. Maloney, J.D.

A final rule requiring rear visibility technology in all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018, has been issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), according to an agency press release. This new rule enhances the safety of these vehicles by significantly reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries caused by backover accidents (NHTSA News Release, NHTSA 09-14, March 31, 2014).

Specifically, the final rule requires all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, including buses and trucks, manufactured on or after May 1, 2018, to come equipped with rear visibility technology that expands the field of view in order to enable the driver of a motor vehicle to detect areas behind the vehicle to reduce death and injury resulting from backover events. The field of view must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. The system must also meet other requirements, including image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation.

On average, there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by backover crashes. NHTSA has found that children under five years old account for 31 percent of backover-related fatalities each year, and adults 70 years of age and older account for 26 percent. “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. “We're already recommending this kind of life-saving technology through our NCAP program and encouraging consumers to consider it when buying cars today.”

The final rule, which will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, requires compliance in accordance with the phase-in schedule, beginning on May 1, 2016. Full compliance is required by May 1, 2018.

The final rule complements action taken by the agency last year to incorporate rear visibility technology into the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). NHTSA's NCAP program—widely known for its Five-Star Safety Ratings – highlights for consumers the vehicle makes and models that are equipped with the agency's Recommended Advanced Technology Features that can help drivers avoid crashes and reduce other safety risks. Forward collision warning (FCW) and lane departure warning (LDW) systems are also highlighted under NCAP on www.safercar.gov.

MainStory: TopStory MotorVehiclesNews MotorEquipmentNews

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