Debate over rear-view car camera mandate continues, please put on your seat belt

Rear-View Camera DebateThe ongoing debate over whether all new cars should be required to have rear-view cameras will pick up in the nation’s capital this week.

According to the Detroit News, Reps. Peter King (R—NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-ILL) will join a group of parents at a press conference Thursday to urge the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to finalize regulation that’s been delayed since 2011.

The legislation, which has been delayed four times, was approved by Congress in 2007 and signed into law by President George W. Bush requiring the federal government to establish some rules around the law by Feb. 28, 2011.  Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, however, has reportedly been delaying the rule.

In December of 2010, NHTSA proposed new rules that would require all carmakers to install back-up cameras in all new vehicles by 2014. But now the implementation process is in limbo.

 NHTSA Administrator David Strickland says there are a number of things to consider before mandating the legislation, which would reportedly cost the auto industry $1.9 billion to $2.7 billion annually.

“We are still working through a number of issues,” Strickland is reported as telling the Detroit News. “It’s a very important rule for the department…We want to make sure we get it right.”

The Detroit News article goes on to report that NHTSA notes that about 100 children age 5 or under die annually in backup crashes and “there are strong reasons… to prevent these deaths.”

It’s hard to argue against mandating any technology that can help saves lives – especially when it comes to children.  However, the issue does beg the question what- if any – impact a back-up camera mandate could have in the future on other car safety technology features, which can help save lives as well.

Years down the road, could we find ourselves debating whether mandates should be applied to car features like side mirror blind spot detection or night vision technology? The argument echoes a past debate over a similar safety feature we now take for granted: seat belts.

What do you think? Should all new vehicles be required to have rear-view cameras − and what if any other safety technology features should be mandated for new cars?  Leave a comment below.

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