I'm all for anything that improves the safety of our kids, but I have to say mandating auto makers to include a back-up camera on every vehicle--that seems like a stretch. I have a back-up camera on my vehicle and I rarely use it. Maybe it's a female thing (I've asked friends so I'm not being sexist) or maybe it's just a me thing, but I don't trust the camera and spatially, it doesn't help me back up any better. I still turn around and do the traditional peering over the shoulder when backing out of a spot or a driveway.
My husband and son make fun of me, but let me ask you this. Is it better to plow out of a driveway without looking because I have my back-up camera in range or is it better to take the time to look carefully while backing out. I do this every day so I don't hit the gaggle of dogs typically hanging out in my driveway.
Beth: You're not alone in your distrust of the camera. There's still some debate over the viewing angle of the camera, partly because some people say it doesn't provide a wide enough view. Proponents want a 180-degree viewing angle but some engineers say that resultion is lost at the broader angle and are pushing for 130 degrees. I don't have back-up cameras on either of my cars, but have used many rental cars with the feature. With the rentals -- maybe because the experience is so different than what I'm accustomed to -- I, too, find myself peering back over my shoulder. Sometimes, I will glance back and forth at the display, but I have to admit I don't fully trust it yet.
The scariest thing, I think, is people being lulled into a false sense of security of trusting the camera and not taken the manual steps (looking back) to ensure top safety, especially when you're in a crowded area or in a place where there might be children or pets at bay. Also, the resolution isn't the best on these cameras--things can seem murky or farther away or closer than they actually are. Finally, all you need is to have is some snow or road dirt stuck to the lens and you have less visibility than the manual peering over the shoulder. I don't like being a naysayer to technical advances and I am all for cameras as options, but I don't see this in the same vein as an airbag or some of the other safety features that have been government mandated as standard safety features in cars.
You're right, Beth, there's no replacement for diligence on the part of the driver. That said, this technology does perform one function that goes beyond ordinary diligence. Toddlers, who may be as small as 30", simply cannot be seen behind most cars. There's a phenomenon that's almost painful to discuss -- the so-called "bye-bye syndrome," in which the toddler runs out behind a car to wave goodbye to a parent and is backed over. If the toddler is directly behind the car, he or she can't be seen by anything other than a back-up camera. Toddlers are shorter than the normal trunklid or rear liftgate, but the back-up camera does "see" them. It's one thing that the camera can do that none of us can, no matter how hard we try.
Good point, Chuck, on the camera's ability to see what the human eye can't see. Some delivery truck companies and service companies have a rule to place those little cones around their parked vehicles to eliminate the exact problem the cameras address. So I think this is a great development.
I have to agree with Beth on this one. I still see people depending on their mirrors rather than checking their blind spot for themselves when changing lanes– a critical error where an accident is often avoided because the driver in the next lane is vigilant and can get out of the way in time without hitting another car. I think the cameras are a great idea if used as another tool towards safety but again – it depends on the operator to actually use it. I am a mom so of course the premise of added safety for our children is near and dear to my heart, but as Beth points out, the temptation for such gadgets may be over reliance on them. While I am against over regulation – I would like to see practical laws that strike at the heart of irresponsible driving – for example, it should be a punishable offense to text while driving. How many kids have been run over due to driver distraction?
Nancy, your point about driver distraction is an excellent one. I also hear your point about over-regulation. One thing I wondered as I was writing this story was whether NHTSA could say, "Automakers don't need to put backup cameras in every vehicle, but vehicles that don't have them will be limited in terms of the number of distractions -- i.e., MP3 players, iPod connections, CD players, video, Internet, etc -- that they will be allowed to have." Back-up cameras might or might not help eliminate accidents, but at least the goal is safety. Infotainment, on the other hand, does not promote safety in any way that I'm aware of.
Several years ago I was looking at cars in Dallas and stoped by a VW dealership LATE AT NIGHT to test drive a Tourig (?). Leaving the lot with a female sales person we returned a half hour latter to find the main luminaries turned off. Being the last car to return and she being timid about returning the vehicle to its rather tight slot I left her out and proceeded to the space, pulled forward turing to allign with the space. As I put the vehicle in reverse the VERY BRITE BACKUP LIGHTS CAME ON ...AS DID THE GPS SCREEN.... COMPLETE WITH A BEAUTIFUL COLOR PICTURE OF THE SPACE TO MY REAR!
I...WAS SO IMPRESSED I GOT ONE IN MY NEXT CAR!If you have kids or GRAND KIDS this is the BEST NEW SAFETY DEVICE YET!
I see what you are saying, Charles. The only problem is compliance – it's that human free will thing. Limiting ports and not including technology bells and whistles won't prevent aftermarket installs. I think something will have to eventually be done regarding infotainment in vehicles. It's a shame because any reasonably thinking person should be able to acknowledge the dangers these distractions create for themselves and everyone around them. Regarding the cameras – I am thinking proximity sensors with a startling loud audio warning might do more. Although the cameras are a great idea and can help with scenarios like backing into a space as someone else pointed out, that is a time when the driver is focused and using it for a specific task. An audio warning could jar a distracted person back to the task at hand.
Nancy the new system cameras in some vehicles have rear sense warning derived from video scan reflective intensidy interigation. This works similar to sonar sensors in bumpers common since 2000. Other safety applications being considered are front ,rear and side, eminent crash interface of warning and air bag control.
As to free will limitations: Drunks could care less about YOUR safety!
I'm coming down in the "For" column for several reasons, including age, poor night vision, and experience with quality and aftermarket camera systems.
You're right that not everyone will use it, but with time I think that MOST will. (How many use ALL the the equipment on any vehicle?)
I currently own a motor home that is equipped with a good (albeit aging) backup camera. I have purchased and installed a camera on my wife's last car (a Chrysler Concord with a blind spot that approached 180 degrees).
The one on the motor home is a joy, even though it's monochrome and has to have the brightness on the CRT adjusted as light conditions change. It has saved me from backing into and over numerous objects, and is sensitive enough to let me back into parking spots with just the illumination of the tail lights. If it went out, I'd replace it in a heartbeat!
The one I installed on my wife's "boat" posed several problems that highlight the need for them to be a factory standard equipment. First, even though it was wireless it required a lot of effort to install just go get power to the camera and the display. Second, there just isn't any place to put anything in a modern car! I wound up putting it on the top of the drivers sun visor, where it had to be folded down to use. Both these fairly major problems would have been easily avoided at design time of the vehicle. It ended up being used very little because of the hassle of folding it down and back up each time, and because the field of view was too wide to be of much use OTHER THAN FOR AVOIDING OBJECTS UP CLOSE.
I would love to have a decent camera on my mini-van, but even it has virtually no space for the display. I mentioned age and poor night vision: My neck, because of age and injury, is too stiff to allow me to turn around and look behind me. As a result I am forced to rely on the mirrors (I use all 3 when backing), and mirrors in low light don't cut it too well.
As for the cost objections, as usual the auto makers are quoting their inflated figures! The unit I bought for my wife's car is fairly well made, includes a nice 7 inch wide-screen color LCD, external inputs, a speaker, a microcontroller based adjustment system, internal speaker, video transmitter and receiver, enough cable that it could have been installed WITHOUT the transmitter, and a kit of flexible mounting options. Retail price? $79.00!
P.S. On the subject of field of view: My vote is for a high mount, with a 90 degree field of view. This might need to be modified on some cars to get close enough in, but will work well on SUV's and Crossovers. (That's about all we drive here in Texas; the rest of you need to get with the program! :-)
There's not a question about whether this technology is both impressive and valuable. The political football and question is the implementation of the rule that could require all new vehicles to incorporate backup cameras. Would be interesting to see how many people would choose to pay to buy the option and what it might add to the retail cost of the vehicle. Good story.
Charles, it's a good move from the traffic department. Many accidents are happening in backover and up to an extent it can be avoid, if driver can visualize the back side over the screen. I had installed the camera in my car with alarm warnings, so that it's easy for me to see the backside of the vehicle.
Before we start adding cameras to our vehicles, we really should think about mandating better backup lights.
I'm sure the backup lights on both of my vehicles meet the minimum requirements, but on a dark night, especially in inclement weather, I am essentially blind when backing up.
Current backup lights are little more than a signal to other drivers that you are moving backwards. They don't emit enough light to really see what is behind you. Unless you install night vision cameras, adding a backup camera to your vehicle will only help in the daytime unless the lights are also bright enough to illuminate what is behind you.
What about this idea? Maybe, just maybe we should take the two extra steps it takes as we approach our vehicles to check that there isn't something behind the car before we get into the stupid thing. I have NEVER been so preoccupied that I can't see almost the entire "blind spot" as I approach my car. Take responsibility for your own actions instead of trying to force someone to do it for you. Come on, people.
Checking for things when approaching a vehicle addresses inanimate objects, e.g. trash barrels, balls, bicycles, etc. but does not address animate opjects, or inanimate objects moved by external forces, e.g. pets, children, wind blown objects, etc.
To another's point, brighter back-up lights would be helpful in several resoects, 1. better night visibility outside of the blind spots 2. greater attention of the vehicle/operator's intent to non blind humans (excepting young children) -- as is also done audibly on trucks an dconstruction machinry w/ a backup buzzer/beepr, 3. possibly simplified requirements for backup camera lo light performance, however, if color renditon and fine tonal gradation is sacrificed, sensitivity at very low light levels could be achieved -- esentially night vision mode at low light levels.
Ultrasonic sensors may be another solution for animals/humans/etc. behind vehicles, but may be less effective for bollards, curbs, and other smaller, and/or shorter stationary objects.
Thank you david, this is the best idea yet. Every time I approach my vehicle to drive, I look around to see what could be aproblem, and where it is. If there is sometihng that I don't want to run over (I have both pets and kids), I make sure that I know where it is and can see it. In addition, I would have a hard time using a backup camera since I turn around and look out of the rear window while I am backing up. I see no reason to force everyone to pay for a "safety device" that only a few of us need. Backup cameras may be a cool and useful toy, but they are not a necesary safety device.
Situational awareness will prevent more problems that just cameras. A backup camera is only a tool that can help. Knowing the location of a child or pet is more important than having a camera to looking behind the car for the child or pet. I've stopped more than one to because I could not see the child or pet.
Many deliver and service vehicles avoid back up hazards by not parking where they must first back up. I see package delivery vehicles stop then back into a parking spot so they may drive forward when leaving. I see flashers used for brief stops and cones used for longer stops when the vehicle is not in a marked parking space.
This is one of the worst ideas yet.You can't fix stupid with technology.
In any of the accidents involving toddlers being run over was the car at fault? Was it unavoidable? I doubt it.
Backover accidents are the driver's fault which I would attribute to the driver being too hurried to check the area behind the vehicle before getting in or not being trained in how to safely backup.
Vehicles with poor rearward visibility have been around since the inception of automobiles. When I watch the old Untouchables I see 1930's vintage vehicles that had to have very poor rearward visibility. Why is this all of a sudden a big issue? When drivers become accustomed to this "convenience" what will they do when the camera is blocked by ice, snow, dirt, dust, lighting or system failure? Should the vehicle's reverse be locked out if there is not a clear images on the backup screen? And the fact is there is a big blind spot in front of a lot of new vehicles, notably Humvees, pickups and the like. Should there be a blind spot camera there too.
When commercial pilots are trained to operate their aircraft they have to keep current in the type by training in what to do when the various systems fail. Can we expect the average driver to deal properly with failure of the backup camera?
If the backup camera is a necessity, why not mandate backup mirrors if no backup camera is installed on all vehicles, new or old? Shouldn't we all be willing to have our cars look like post office vehicles and school buses with the numerous convex mirrors hanging off various corners?
The backup cameras on my Toyotas work great, but I scan the area before I enter the car and review all my mirrors in addition to the screen. I will never purchase a vehicle without a rear camera. But, I don't believe the government should have the right to mandate their use. Cameras will not and can not prevent backup deaths. Only the drivers can do that. It's the drivers responsibility to take needed and appropriate actions to not kill people.
Why isn't more press aimed at the 100,000 USA hospital deaths caused by visit contracted infections and miss-provided prescriptions? That's equivalent to 3 fully-loaded 747's crashing every day. Or, how about the 18,000 drunk driver murders committed each year? The government should be aiming its resources where it's most needed by dealing appropriately with those that don't take full responsibility for their actions. In our state, killing someone with your car when you're drunk, or giving a patient the wrong medication are misdemeanors.
- appear un-expected from neighbor's house (children you weren't aware of).
- children in parking lots (breaking away from a parent's grip)
and move to a position behind the car, faster than you can look down and put a key in the ignition! I have seen it numerous times. I have no illusions about this "improvement"...drivers will still back over children. But it is likely to happen fewer times with better awarenes of what is behind the car.
If it is ok for the gov to mandate - air bags, bumper strength, crash survial, head lights, rearview mirrors, etc... Why would I NOT expect them to dictate blind spot size? (they are not dictating cameras as the solution). And on some SUVs.. blind spot size in front of the vechical would be appropriate also! (cannot find the dang curb , certainly would not see a small child)
The real question I want answered .. when will the gov dicate postion of tissue boxes in cars?
See my original post. I am still amazed we grew up and made it through our childhood years. You know what we learned, both as children, parents and eventually adulthood? To be careful. If you do stupid things, expect stupid results.
You can cover a car with bubble wrap, nerf, and foam and some bone head will still get hurt... and blame you for it.
Life is dangerous, inherently. You could be walk thing through the woods and have a tree branch break, fall, hit you on the head and kill you... should the gov't legislate the largest branch size that can be at x distance above your head? Of course not.
Let the consumers decide what they really want, because I for one am sick and tired of being told what I have to have for my safety.
It might sound callous, and I'm sure I'll get flamed for this, but any child that hasn't been instructed to listen to their parents when the situation is dire, is going to show this depravity in judgement later in life as well. Would I be upset if my kid got hit by a car? Absolutely, but I also know that I would not let my child play in an area with traffic for one, if the child was in a traffic laden area, I would be VERY near the vicinity, watching over, and finally I would have drill into my kid's head to watch out for cars and traffic.. just like my parents did for me.
Just because many of today's parents are devoid of the proper parenting skills does not mean that everyone else needs to pick up the slack because of it. Look at the state of the country today. You see people picking up the slack for the weak/lazy/stupid every day right? Of course not. And the is is no different. Reliance on someone else, or technology or some other crutch does not take the place of training and common sense in the first place.
Let's assume you have a backup camera on your car, active radar, and ultrasonic parking sensors and 5kW of LED lighting to the rear of your vehicle, you go to back into a parking space and you hit a kid because he was climbing a tree that overshadows your parking spot and the branch he was on broke. He falls, and lands directly behind your vehicle as you're parallel parking and you hit him.
You think you're not going to get sued anyway? Ridiculous scenario yes, but who'd have thought you could get millions from McDonalds for spilling hot coffee in your lap?
Moral of the story... how much is enough? I'd say we passed that point a long time ago.
I'm not quite sick of being told what to do for my own safety. But I think there's a world of difference between engines that explode or catch fire and whether someone walking behind my car is bothering to look out for his own safety and I therefore am forced to have a backup light on my car.
So I vote for audio warnings, on the OUTSIDE of the vehicle as well as on the inside. There's almost as much walker distraction as driver distraction in my opinion. As a driver, I always look multiple times in multiple directions when backing up, especially out of a parking space, and I'm a cautious pedestrian. But it seems like about once a week I almost hit some pedestrian walking in back of my car who is not looking at me, usually in a shopping center parking lot.
Ann, this may be news to you but AFAIK, anyone backing up has to give advantage to ANY traffic. This means that even pedestrians have the RIGHT to walk behind your car and you are REQUIRED to wait until the space behind your car is available before backing up. I have the impression that not many drivers can be bothered to even realize this or look for other traffic, like the lady at my local bank who backed out and I had to swerve several feet to avoid being hit by her car and she *continued* backing out. She apparently could not be bothered to look in the direction she was going. When I called her on her unsafe driving, she yelled that I should not act so hostile to her and raced away. Umh, yeah...
No it's not news to me, cvandewater, and yes, I'm very aware of those laws. That was the point of my post. I do wait until it's clear, AFAICT. The point is, and the on-the-ground reality is, drivers can't look in all directions at once when backing out of a parking lot space, and anyone with half a brain walking near a large deadly object (today it's a car, "yesterday" it was a big predator) who is not paying attention to that object and treating it like the danger it is, is being irresponsible. So many pedestrians today seem to be oblivious to their surroundings, as do so many drivers. So I vote for warning sounds on the outside of vehicles. Of course, as soon as those become common, some people will just ignore them, too. I have had experiences just like yours. Unfortunately, I've also had experiences as a driver with irresponsible and oblivious pedestrians.
Problem is not the kid falling out of a tree while you are backing up. The problem is the moron drivers who back out of a spot without being bothered to check for any traffic or whether it is safe. You can literally stand still behind a parked car, the driver gets in and backs over you, then tells that he did not see you, of course he claims that he looked and that you suddenly came out of nowhere.
Now try to drive safely without being able to see up to 40ft behind your vehicle.
I say that in *such* a vehicle you cannot drive safe if you have to back up, so you cannot legally do that (because the law says you have to drive safely) in such a vehicle without help. either a person standing behind the vehicle, a special mirror or a backup camera. But I am sure that you will find fault with this also - why would you be required to comply to any law anyway?
Maybe a good idea for pedestrians to be allowed to carry a gun to shoot the driver that is assaulting them with a vehicle, because the driver cannot be bothered to make sure to operate the vehicle safely - unfortunately that would still not solve the issue of so many kids getting killed in backing-over incidents.
Many of these incidents happen not in high traffic areas, but in a driveway on a cul de sac. You call for punishment of the victims and rewarding the perpetrators. I am afraid that you are very confused. You forget that pedestrians (and bicyclists) have a right to the streets, while driving a motor vehicle is a privilege and you must adhere to laws before you are allowed to operate a motor vehicle safely on public streets. So many drivers have no clue that roads were invented by bicyclists and horse-drawn carriages and after a couple decades when cars were invented, the drivers started sharing the same roads. That idea of sharing has been lost in the last few decennia when traffic engineers and people who only grew up with cars started sacrificing everything to the "Holy Cow" of motorized traffic flow, disregarding the legal and historical rights of pedestrians and bicyclists. Today you still see the results in that drivers are often not even ticketed for killing a human as long as they did not intend to kill and almost no parents dare to allow their kids to play near the street, because it is not safe with cars around since drivers are not held accountable to the carnage they cause.
Indeed - not so "common" sense if you consider that victims are punished and the bullies (drivers) are given free reign.
Wow... you really don't get it do you? You wrote it down, laid it out, and you STILL don't get it.
IF THE DRIVER IS AN IDIOT, NO AMOUNT OF TECHNOLOGY WILL HELP.
My point is, again, based on the above premise, why should the rest of us have to pay for options to protect people from themselves? If they are too stupid or lawless as you put it, because they apparently aren't held accountable for driving over pedestrians, what good is a camera going to do? What, so they can watch the look on their victims faces as they crush them to death?
Maybe in a perfect world we could instal human recognition software for the video link, and have the computer take complete control of the car upon detection of a human or quadraped (we can't have your doggy or kitty getting smashed either can we?) the vehicle immediately solidly, locks all four wheel brakes for 30 seconds, sounds the horn, and a big boxing glove pops out of the glove box and delivers a solid left hook to the person driving because they obviously deserve it for operating a motor vehicle on a surface where people or animals have to share. Really?
I really don't believe the particular example of a 40 ft blind spot. Not doubting you, but the logic of it. How in gods name would anyone back up an 18 wheeler? The trailer alone can be upwards of 50 ft. They don't have cameras, they have SKILL. Look at a UPS or Fedex truck. So, this gets back to my original premise. You need to have some level of skill as an operator, and you as a pedestrian need to have some level of common sense to stay out of dangerous situations, and teach children the same thing once they're old enough to get around on their own for the same reasons.
Maybe it's a fallacy anymore, but I'd like to think (hope) society hasn't been dumbed down so far, that people can't figure out how to not get themselves into situations where they don't kill themselves walking down the sidewalk.
Just as a fun side note thread highjack, ever look at an old desk fan? You can stick your fingers in it, just a couple pieces of 0.125 wire bent into some kind of ornamental pattern. You can't do that today... why? Have we DE-evolved so far that we can't keep our fingers out of a fan?
Apparently I misread your earlier comment and we are in violent agreement ;-)
The only case where a backup camera helps is for operators who *want* to be safe, *do* have reasonable skill but simply can't see what is happening around them.
If you are used to the typical European nimble car and you get into a USA Boulevard Tractor (I mean the vehicles classified as farm equipment like any SUV or jacked up Pickup truck) then you too will be horrified by the loss of control on your environment, there literally can be a whole classroom standing around your vehicle and you can't see any one of them.
Oh and car manufacturers have indeed deliberately reduced the size of rear windows, because their customers indicated in questionnairs that they felt safer in a car with smaller windows. SO, who cares about the safety of lives outside the car???
Interestingly enough however, I have a Lincoln LS, which is basically an American version of a 3 Series BMW (that frankly I wish they'd bring back..) which has rear park assist and abysmal mirrors. Ok for changing lanes, but backing up, you definitely have to know your vehicle. My other ride is a F250 Superduty that I pull a 32 foot gooseneck horse trailer with. No park assist, and you can't see directly behind you, but as you pull past to see if you even fit, it should be enough time/view to see whats around. And lastly, I'm also a volunteer firefighter, so I have been driving our trucks for probably the last 15 years. The size isn't so much the problem, but the weight. The 3000 gallon tanker is 38 feet long, and weighs in at 68k loaded, and 13 ton lighter when empty. Being in a rural area where I live, asphalt isn't always present... So gauging what you're about to get into is beneficial in determining if you get back out!
I dunno, between that and farm stuff, maybe I take the skill set for granted, but I don't see it as an unlearnable skill. Just takes practice.
If you read the reasons given for the government to be involved in requiring backup cameras yo will stt tht the concern is not about hittig trash cans. It is about hitting living things, such as children. You can check the area behind a car before you get into it, but that doesn/t mean that nothing has moved into the area when you start to backup. You can also teach your kids to be careful, but you cannot teach all the kids on your block. The defination of "blind spot" is an area you cannot see. Therefore, a backup camera can be invaluable. The only other help is a person standing near the back of your car telling you it is clear. I have to back out a diagonal parking space at by business. the car Idrive has very bad visability when trying to see down the streeto to look for traffic. Many times I have done the best I can to check, only to find a car has moved in behind me, or almost behind me, when I start to back out.
I have seen a modern backup camera on a new car, and it was very impressive. I have installed wireless backup cameras on two of my vehicles, and they do not work very well. My wife and I would love to have clear, reliable pictures of what is behind our cars. I probably will have to get aftermarket, wired systems with night vision,.
Somestimes the so called "nany" government does a good job. Would car companies ever had seat belts or air bags if left to their own choices? Or would we have had more cars with explosive gas tanks like the Pinto because it saved some money in production?
I actually agree with the mandate for backup cameras. Although we were all taught during driver training to turn around and look before backing up or pulling out, the number of people who actually do this is shockingly small. I got hit by an idiot driver at my kid's school cause she couldn't be bothered to turn her head around to look as she was backing up to pull out. Clunk. Of course, one wonders whether the drivers who give a cursory look into the rear view mirror will use the back-up camera screen. Also, there is a bit of an orientation issue, in that your brain has to process the info on the screen and correlate it with the fact that you're going backwards, not forwards.
Admittedly, I'm not for regulation on this issue. It's a step too far for my tastes. I don't believe, however, that exterior back-up noises or pedestrian alerts would mean much to a toddler. If anything, it might make him or her freeze in their tracks.
While back-up beepers can be helpful in some cases to alert others what you are about to do, it should and cannot take the place of the mandatory *making sure that there is nobody present where you want to go* because backing up is technically comparable with changing direction. Before you are allowed to change lane, you have to make sure that you will not hinder anyone with your change of direction. Before you make a turn, you have to make sure that no other traffic is passing in the same direction, including pedestrians, so you may need to wait before making your turn. Same with backing up. Unfortunately rear windows become smaller all the time, so people feel safer inside their vehicles. Also vehicles become higher and bigger all the time, which leads to these excesses that an entire junior sports team can stand behind your vehicle without you being able to see any one of them. The tragic results can be found too often in the news reports. I call those vehicles "unsafe at any speed".
Since it is the duty of the driver of the vehicle, to operate it a in a safe manner, I think that it is unavoidable to either have someone outside the vehicle during a backup procedure to watch for safe backing up, or to have tools to look behind the vehicle. There are many vehicles with additional mirrors that allow the driver to see the area immediately behind the vehicle. The backup camara is simply a modern variant of the extra mirrors that you often see on busses and delivery vehicles.
How would you suggest that drivers of vehicles with large blind spots operate their vehicle safely, especially in the vicinity of (young) pedestrians? I hope you don't consider the option of calling the carnage "accidents".
Backing-over incidents should be treated the same way as crashing into the vehicle in the next lane. You can't defend that you switched on your blinker, so the next lane should be evacuated for you - you can't say that you have lamps or backup beeper and anybody behind your vehicle should move out of the way. (That is how they drive in India, I hope that is not our future.) The driver that changes position must make sure to do so safely or face the consequences of breaking the law (punishment).
cvandwater: I agree with you that backup beepers cannot and should not take the place of mandatory dilignce on the part of the driver. That was my point in my earlier comment. But I don't think we've reached the point where we know how useful these cameras are. I agree with the very logical point that back-up cameras enable you to see things that no amount of diligence allows you to see -- IF drivers use them correctly and learn to trust them. But if you look at the earlier comments here (mine included) many drivers don't yet feel comfortable depending on a camera. The natural tendency is to turn around and look over your shoulder, because that's the way you've done it for many years. Do we know if these cameras will really reduce accidents and fatalities? I think NHTSA needs to keep looking at this issue.
I think if you're trained well in how to drive, you don't have to worry about a new system weakening the way you already proceed. Anything that gives you greater visibility is a plus. I see this as my daughter is learnign to drive. She has two side mirrors and a rear-view mirror, but there is still a blind spot. I keep insisting she look over her shoulder before changing lanes (and likewise staying out of other drivers' blid spots). The mirrors are great, but you still have to look over your shoulder.
I think you're right, Rob, when you say that if you have been properly trained, you shouldn't have to worry about a new system weakening your process. For whatever reason, though, I feel uncomfortable looking back and forth -- over my shoulder and then forward again -- when I'm backing up with a rear-view camera. I suspect that discomfort would go away after a couple of weeks.
It definitely fills a blind spot, Rob. I recommend that drivers check it out when you get in your car. If you're honest about it, you'll find that you'd be unable to see a toddler behind the car for a minimum of 20 feet (without the camera). Now, we need to find out if drivers will successfully use this system.
I see that some people think that the driver has complete control of the environment around a car. There is no way of being aware of everything that is going on. Having the most amount of information, in a way that can be used, is my choice. Even if the car was reduced to a bare frame with no body to block the view, you still could not see everything at once. Yes, people do have to be willing to use a backup camera. They also have to be willing to use turn signals. I'm sure we all know that many people do not use them. Sometimes they use them to signal for a left turn, and then go straight. But even with the non users I still think they are useful. I may not know what everyone is going to do, but I know what some of the drivers are going to do, and that is better than nothing.
Some people have said that a beeper behind the car is their choice. I have a backup beeper on my pickup and most people driving behind me as I back out of parking space do not hear it. They cannot even hear an emergency siren. It is useful to warn people who are on foot, but it does little for cars. I do not want to depend on somone seeing or hearing me. I want to know about them. In the same way, I like daytime driving lights. They give me more information about another car than I get from a car without the lights. If I am more aware of other cars I can do a better job of driving.
I do not think of driving a a blood sport. I think of driving as a whole bunch of people who have to work together. We have to see each other, and respond to what we see. I will try to use any tools that help with that. I do agree with those who say it is important to have the screen for a backup camera designed in such a way that is easy to see without blocking other things on the dashboard, or thru the windshield.
I would think a sufficient number of drivers would use the system to warrant the investment. And how expensive is a camera system anyway? It will probably save lives. The practice of delivery and maintenance drivers using those small cones around their parked vehicles has reportedly reduced accidents.
Charles, I agree with you on the uselessness of even more regulation. It seems so many people tend to frame the arguments around whether or not this is a good technology. Sure, if it it is hard to use, doesn't fully address a problem, is too expensive... these are the reasons that some are using for advising against the regulation. However, I take a step even farther back and say: so what? Here's another bell or whistle driving up the price. Why can't I as a consumer pick and choose the features (and thereby the price) that I want on the products I purchase?
Wow this thing is HOT! lol. You don't have to be an idiot to run over something or someone. A small lapse in attention is enough for an accident. I myself, would not recommend putting a vehical in reverse with someone remotely behind it and for sure not if kids were around. Children don't recognize danger.
I am not a professional driver with CDL liscense, but feel confident enough that I can use my mirrors, provided they are set correctly, to back my car or truck up short distances. I don't care much for the camera idea, but I think sonar alarm system would be a good idea.
Driving a little delivery truck around town isn't a big deal. If you can park a heavy 40ft trailer on a well site between other trucks in the rain and heavy mud with a foot between trucks... that's some driving.
A backup camera is one more unreliable stupid distraction for drivers. The ultrasonic system that has been in production for several years is better and less distracting. Besides that, how long after a backup video display is added, will it take to figure out all sorts of other distractions for the driver while not backing the car?
What is the real, not estimated, or pulled from thin air, number of serious injuries that are caused by backing? And, more important, how many of those would have been prevented if the driver had paid attention? A dozen cameras are not going to make an unattentive driver any safer. Engineers know that, but lawmakers can only hear lobbyists with money in their hands. WE all know that, as well. What we need to do is set aside what those who stand to make a profit selling these mandatory systems say and examine facts. Laws passed on the basis of irrational emotions are so very "California". Their track record is absolute proof of that.
This is another helpful technology, the cost is low (I have seen after market kits for under $200), and a lot of cars are already adding this feature anyway. The blind spot behind a car is huge (some worse than others). If it saves 1 kid from getting run over, I will gladly pay the extra $200 when buying my next car. Can you put a price on a child or anyone else's life? There is no one technology that will save every life or prevent every accident, but every little bit helps. In response to the one commenter who is a volunteer firefighter, I am a volunteer paramedic, about 3 or 4 years ago we added backup cameras to all of our ambulances (the blind spot behind them is HORRIBLE, no backup mirror at all). We have not had a single backing up accident since! We used to rack up a few dozen accidents a year involving damage to the ambulance or to other people's property. Fortunately, there was never any injury to a person, but when you see how easy it is to damage property when backing up an ambulance, it could just as easily be a small child excited to see the flashing lights standing behind the truck in the blind spot. I can only imagine how much this would help on a firetruck which is much larger!
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