(Adds comment from safety watchdog, costs per car)
WASHINGTON, March 31 The U.S. government said on
Monday it will require new cars and light trucks sold in the
United States to have rearview cameras by May 2018, a regulation
intended to prevent drivers from backing into pedestrians.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the
new requirement will apply to all vehicles under 10,000 pounds
(4,500 kg), including buses and trucks.
"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
said in a statement.
NHTSA said that 58 to 69 lives will be saved each year once
all cars and light trucks on the road have this technology.
There are, on average, 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries
per year caused by backover accidents, the agency said. Children
under 5 years old and adults 70 and older account for more than
half of all backover fatalities each year.
Many automakers already are installing rearview cameras in
response to consumer demand.
Safety watchdogs welcomed the new rule but faulted the Obama
administration for not moving sooner. In 2008, Congress directed
the Transportation Department, which oversees NHTSA, to issue a
rear visibility standard by 2011 but it was repeatedly delayed.
"While the administration delayed the rule, more children
died in backover accidents. The cost of regulatory delay, in
human lives, could hardly be more clear than it is today,"
Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, said in a
Cameras must be able to give drivers a 10-foot-by-20-foot
(3-meter-by-6-meter) field of view directly behind the vehicle,
NHTSA said. The video system also must meet other requirements,
including image size.
The agency estimated that it would cost between $132 and
$142 to equip each vehicle with a rearview camera that meets the
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Bill Trott and Marguerita