U-T San Diego

By U-T San Diego Jan. 5, 2013


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has missed its deadline to release rules spurring automakers to outfit more cars and trucks with backup cameras.

It is the latest delay of the rear-visibility standard for light vehicles, which Congress ordered in 2007 to prevent accidents in which drivers back over and injure or kill children.

Despite the Dec. 31 deadline announced by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last year, a final version of the rule is still being reviewed at the White House, a NHTSA spokeswoman confirmed today.

In a statement, NHTSA said it “remains committed to improving rearview visibility for the nation’s fleet and will issue a final rule upon completion of the regulatory review process.”

To meet the rear-visibility standards that NHTSA proposed in 2010, automakers would opt to install cameras on all of their vehicles. Drivers would see the video image on the rearview mirror or on a video screen in the dashboard.

For vehicles without a display, the added equipment would raise costs by $159 to $203 per vehicle, according to NHTSA estimates. For the growing number of vehicles with video displays for purposes such as navigation, the incremental cost of adding a camera and other equipment would be $58 to $88.

The 2007 law called for the final rules to be completed by February 2011.

LaHood used his authority to push back that deadline until February 2012. That month he wrote letters to congressional leaders saying NHTSA needed more time to finish the rules but planned to release them by the end of 2012.

Safety experts and industry analysts that follow the agency expected the final rules to be released last month.

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