Advocates’ Statement on New Rearview Camera Rule

  • May 1, 2018
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety


May 1, 2018


Contact: Eric Naing 202-408-1711, cell: 217-493-8294,


CONSUMER ALERT:  Families No Longer Have to Buy Expensive Luxury Packages to Get Lifesaving Rearview Camera Technology

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety President Cathy Chase Lauds New Government Standard Taking Effect Today Requiring Rearview Cameras as Standard Equipment on All New Cars

Today, the federal vehicle safety standard issued in 2014 takes effect requiring that all newly-manufactured vehicles be equipped with a rearview back-up camera.  This regulation by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will save lives and save consumers money.  No longer will consumers need to pay for a rearview camera as an expensive option.  Rearview cameras improve rear visibility for drivers and will prevent needless backover deaths and serious injuries.  The regulation is a monumental advancement of safety for children, pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable road users.  It is now part of a long list of successful safety achievements promoted by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) in the nearly three decades since our founding in 1989 to prevent motor vehicle crashes, deaths and injuries by making lifesaving technologies standard equipment.  These include: airbags to protect occupants in a crash; electronic stability control (ESC) to prevent rollover; stronger roof crush requirements; and, ejection and side impact protection, among others.  When safety equipment is standardized, it allows all families to benefit from their lifesaving features and does not limit availability to only those who can afford expensive luxury packages or high-end vehicle models.

Advocates commends former Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and John Sununu (R-NH); Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL); the numerous Senate and House cosponsors; led by Advocates’ Consumer Co-Chair Janette Fennell; public health, consumer and safety organizations who joined us in this effort; and, the courageous families who suffered the unthinkable loss of their children in preventable backover incidents and pressed for government action.  Enactment of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act in 2008 (Pub. Law 110-189), mandating the U.S. DOT to issue a standard, was a testament to what can be accomplished with bipartisanship leadership and citizens activating to motivate change and save lives.

Every year on average more than 200 people are killed and over 12,000 more are injured in backover crashes, according to the U.S. DOT.  Over half of those killed are children under age five or adults 70 or older (U.S. DOT).  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has determined that rearview cameras have already reduced backing crashes by 17 percent, and for drivers 70 and older, backing crashes went down by 40 percent.  Moreover, rearview cameras can be expected to prevent nearly one in six police-reported backing crashes.

As we celebrate today’s federal motor vehicle safety standard taking effect, it is important to note that there is still an unfinished safety agenda.  Recent government data shows that in 2016 there were more than 37,000 people killed in motor vehicle crashes.  And, on average more than two million others are injured on our roads and highways every year.  Before today is over, 100 people will die in crashes and 6,500 more will be injured across the country.  Just as rearview cameras are now standard, other available and proven safety technologies, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), should be required on all vehicles.  According to IIHS, rear automatic braking reduces backing crashes by 62 percent.  Forward collision warning plus autobrake decreases front-to-rear crashes by 50 percent.  Additionally, blind spot detection cuts lane-changing crashes by 14 percent, and lane departure warning reduces single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes by 11 percent.

We urge the U.S. DOT to immediately commence rulemakings to make these crash avoidance advances standard equipment for all cars to achieve significant reductions in highway deaths and injuries.  On the path to tomorrow’s autonomous vehicles, there is no reason we should be waiting for technologies available today that could be making a difference in the health and safety of families everywhere.