WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new federal proposal would expand the required field of rear view for vehicles up to 10,000 pounds, including small school buses.
The proposed rulemaking, issued Friday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aims to help eliminate blind zones behind vehicles that can hide the presence of pedestrians — particularly young children and the elderly.
The proposed rule was required by Congress as part of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007. Cameron, a 2-year-old, was killed when his father accidentally backed over him in the family’s driveway.
“There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “The changes we are proposing today will help drivers see into those blind zones directly behind vehicles to make sure it is safe to back up.”
The proposal would include all passenger cars, pickup trucks, minivans, buses and low-speed vehicles (LSVs) with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 10,000 pounds, requiring that drivers can see directly behind the vehicle when the transmission is in reverse.
NHTSA said it believes that manufacturers will install rear-mounted video cameras and in-vehicle displays to meet the proposed standards. Ten percent of new vehicles would have to comply by September 2012, 40 percent by September 2013 and 100 percent by September 2014.
In the proposal, NHTSA notes that in its review of real-world crashes, the agency could not determine whether there were any backover incidents involving LSVs, small school buses and school vans.
“Accordingly, we seek comment and data related to the issue of whether, if the agency remains unable to find such incidents, it could reasonably conclude that those vehicles pose no unreasonable risk of backover crashes and whether it would be permissible therefore … to exclude these vehicles from the application of the final rule,” the agency says in the proposal.
NHTSA is providing a 60-day comment period on the rulemaking. To view the proposal and information about how to submit comments, click here.