Rearview Cameras Now Required On All New North Carolina Vehicles
As of May 2018, all new vehicles manufactured in the United States must be equipped with backup cameras. CNBC reports that the initial law was passed by Congress in 2008. The law was, in part, supported by evidence given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The official report NHTSA submitted to Congress estimated that an average of 292 fatalities occurred every year as the result of backover accidents. Some 78 percent of these backover fatalities (and a whopping 95 percent of backover injuries) occurred with passenger vehicles. As a result of this report and other evidence, Congress passed a law requiring the installation of backup cameras in passenger vehicles sold in the United States. Several years of administrative delays ended in 2014, when the United States Department of Transportation announced an effective date of May 2018.
The law is now in full effect. As a result, any new vehicle must now be equipped with a backup camera.
The Dangers of Backing Up
Safely reversing a vehicle is a difficult task for even the most experienced driver. All vehicles create blind spots, which can impair a driver’s visibility in areas behind the vehicle. These blind spots can be even more restrictive in vehicles that are tall or long. One former driving instructor described a dramatic demonstration to The Drive.
In the demonstration, a student would be chosen to sit in a vehicle and adjust the mirrors. An instructor would then sit on the ground behind the vehicle in the driver’s blind spot. The student would then be asked to confirm that he or she was safe to back up in the vehicle, after which the student would be shown the instructor who would have been backed over.
The fact is that every vehicle has blind spots, and every driver must be aware of them. Technology cannot mitigate every risk faced on the road. But backup cameras with cross traffic sensors have the potential to drastically reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by backover accidents.
“A Parent’s Worst Nightmare”
A stark reminder of the dangers of blind spots was the tragedy that befell former NFL player Todd Heap. Heap, a former tight end for the Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals, backed over his three-year-old daughter in the driveway of the family’s Mesa, Arizona home. She was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at a local hospital. The Washington Post reports that, though authorities conducted mandatory investigations, they were unable to find any evidence of foul play or impairment. In short, there was no evidence that what happened to Heap was anything other than "a parent’s worst nightmare." Many reactions online and through social media reflected the understanding that such a tragedy could easily happen to any parent.
Backup accidents can lead to tragedy. Our Wilmington car accidents have seen how long injury victims must live with the consequences of another driver’s negligence. When such accidents occur, victims have the legal right to be compensated for the injuries and losses they suffer as the result of the accident.