Transportation Policy

Your Next Car Will Have a Rearview Camera, Whether You Want One or Not



Whether you're backing out of the garage in an SUV the size of a Balkan state or in a zippy little Prius, the government doesn't trust your ability to not maim Little Billy or Grandpa, who are apparently crawling around the driveway in their suburban-terrain ghillie suits. That's why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is requiring vehicle manufacturers to include rearview camera systems in many vehicles starting in 2016 and expects full compliance by 2018.

"To reduce the risk of devastating backover crashes involving vulnerable populations (including very young children)," explains a report (PDF), the administration "is issuing this final rule to expand the required field of view for all passenger cars, trucks, multipurpose passenger vehicles, buses, and low-speed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of less than 10,000 pounds." The field of view needs to be 10-by-20 feet directly behind the vehicle, which can only be achieved with a camera.

Just how devastating are these types of crashes? The NHTSA, which operates under the Department of Transportation, tallies 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries every year. Each one of these incidents is tragic, but for a federal authority to issue broad regulations seems a little arbitrary, since about twice as many Americans die falling out of bed each year and four times as many die falling off household furniture. And America's war with lounging devices doesn't even scratch the surface of the top causes of death.

The administration predicts that the rearview camera rule will virtually wipe out the number of backover fatalities. In fact, official estimates say there will be only 13-15 deaths annually once the cameras become universal. They don't anticipate that to be reality for a few more generations of drivers, though. Phasing out cars without cameras is estimated to take until 2054 (at which point, presumably, the NHTSA will be struggling to regulate flying cars, or at least self-driving ones.)

Although the report claims that forcing the hand of manufacturers and consumers won't cost much, the rule has already been delayed several times, most notably in 2012 when Transportation Department Secretary Ray LaHood voiced skepticism of the requirement and House Republicans sent a letter to President Obama noting that at an estimated $2.7 billion, it was "one of the five most expensive pending U.S. regulations."

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  1. The dumbing down of the human race continues…

    1. I have one in my new car. It’s OK, I don’t depend on it except for parking in tight spots, but it’s more for making up for the shitty rear visibility in the car.

  2. The alchemy of government is truly amazing. They can take a positive innovation and transmute it into a retarded and costly burden with a simple mandate incantation.

    1. Government: Turn Gold Into Lead or Just Stealing The Gold Since 8000 BCE

      1. IOW Atlantis sank under the weight of its own regulatory state?

        1. No, that was the aliens.

        2. Too many Marines. It tipped over and capsized.

          1. You’re thinking of Atlanta.

            1. You mean Terminus?

              1. Pagan-like communes are always bad news.

                1. Terminus was the original name of Atlanta.

                  1. Originally inhabited by a group of people writing some encyclopedia.

          2. Guam!

    2. OK, who wants to take bets that the mandatory camera standards will just happen to be fulfilled by all pre-existing GM/Ford cameras, while Toyota/Honda cameras will require retrofits?

      1. Somebody has to write the standards. Who better than industry experts (who just happen to work for our good friends at the UAW in GM’s case)

      2. I wouldn’t take that bet.

        (Also, why, if it was politics, would they help Ford?

        Ford hasn’t played so nice with the State as GM has.)

        1. Same union.

    3. What’s the point of all of this, anyway? These cameras are being offered with newer cars more frequently, anyway. What’s next, mandating 4K?

      1. It does no harm to those who already offer them while forcing higher costs onto lower priced competition that does not. Kinda like Costco supporting a hike in the minimum wage.

        1. Sort of like making sure everyone has Cadillac coverage health insurance.

          1. In America everyone has the very best of everything, because anything less is illegal.

            1. Richest country in the world.
              If we can put a man on the moon…

              1. We can’t fucking put a man on the Moon. We can’t even put a man into LEO.

                1. I’m sure there are many gay cops, ProLib.

                  1. Hugh, you commie, you know I’m talking about space. The final frontier that we aren’t, um, frontiering in.

                    1. How is low earth orbit the frontier of space? Its more like the Bakersfield of space. And if people want to send things there, they can pay for it them damn selves.

                    2. I meant we as a society, not our government. Not a one of us is sending anybody into space, even “space” right now. Pathetic. I blame Hugh.

                    3. If “society” never deems space to be a profitable ambition, then that’s “society’s” journey, man!

                    4. Oh right, that thing where a bunch of mostly dudes in custom made white suits ride a giant flaming phallus into a dark abyss. How could I possibly confuse that with gay sex?

                    5. It’s interesting that you see space travel in this way. Describe in single words, only the good things that come in to your mind about your mother.

                2. I can put a man’s mailbox in LEO though.

                    1. Nice – somewhere, FUCKING NEIL ARMSTRONG’S ghost is cursing you. And shaking his translucent, white fist…

  3. What we really need is a mandatory camera on the back of all pairs of pants. That way, you’ll be able to see Warty approaching.

    1. And spoil the surprise?

  4. “Your Next Car Will Have a Rearview Camera, Whether You Want One or Not”

    My next car is a Statutory Grape Plymouth Satellite Sebring Plus for my wife as an anniversary present.

    What were you saying about a camera?

    1. *Statutory Grape*

      A product of Michael Jackson’s Vineyard?

        1. I had a feeling that was a real color from the pre-PC era.

          1. Mmm, technically, no, it was called Plum Crazy/In-violet in the brochure.

            But it was a very popular nickname, and it’s fun to bust out from time to time.

            1. Well, it sounded truthy

            2. I had a toy VW Beetle as a kid that was about that color, that had “Plum Crazy” painted on it.

              1. Wuss.

    2. When you said “statutory grape” I had high hopes that you were talking about the grapist from the Whitest Kids U Know.

  5. I want a car with a front view camera bluetoothed to my smartphone so I can drive while texting…

    1. I want an iOS app so I can drive my car when I’m not in it.

      That’s probably already a thing, though.

      1. I want a car that drives itself.

        1. Sure, kind of like that, but I want it to break traffic laws when I tell it to.

        2. They outlawed those in 1865.

        3. Google has a recent YouTube video out of a man “driving” their self driving car to a fast food restaurant for a snack. You don’t learn until the end of the video that the man has 95% vision loss and is legally blind. They fudge over little details like how the car knows you want to use the drive through rather than find a parking space in the lot.

          The benefit to society is once there are millions of self driving cars, google street view will be near real time.

          If a blind person can use a car to get to McD’s why can’t it do the same for taking a six year old to school?

  6. It’s the only way the treaded tire ever replaced steel rim wheel, right?

    1. Don’t even get me started on how hard the government had to lean on carmakers to switch to electric starters rather than hand cranks.

    2. How else are we going to get the gaia-slashing, energy-poor ethanol adopted as a fuel!?

  7. Can’t believe I have to ask,
    Why do you hate children ?

    1. Because I have like 60 of them.

    2. I have to ask: Why don’t you hate children?

  8. Whether you’re backing out of the garage in an SUV the size of a Balkan state or in a zippy little Prius,

    Stop… right there.

    There is fuck nothing zippy about a Prius. Please correct the post.

    1. What are you talking about? 0-60 in over 10 seconds and an 18 second quarter-mile doesn’t sound like zip personified (err, automobilified?) to you?

  9. And then some wonder why car prices keep going up. They keep on adding more and more stuff to them.

    Can you even buy a car now with roll up windows?

    1. Sure, lots of low-end ones – then they charge you an arm and a leg to get power windows as an option.

      1. Last car I was going to buy new, they wanted to charge more for manual shift.

        1. They always do that now – most people want auto so its actually cheaper to have those as a default.

          However, regarding windows, there’s still a ton of people who buy cheap cars and think that power windows are a luxury – so they get turned off when the car has them as standard.

          Make them an *option* however and the sucker (I mean customer) thinks he’s being frugal by refusing the option.

    2. I had a rental car about a year ago with crank windows (a little crappy Chevy IIRC). But yeah, they are rare. Most cars today are engineered from the start with electric windows, no provision at all for manual.

    3. Barely – because nobody really wants to buy them.

      The cars they’re available on don’t sell well with that option, as I understand it, and it’s only the low-margin “I need a new car for some reason but have no money at all” customers who go that route.

      The market spoke here – since there’s no coercive mandate for power windows – and it said power windows are so popular it’s not cost effective to have two sets of parts and a design that works with both options, for almost any car.

      The very-cost-conscious consumers just aren’t buying new, nor should they be.

      1. I’ve mostly come to embrace power windows, but I am still annoyed that I need to remember my keys when it starts to rain and I go outside to close the windows. I suppose most people lock their cars so they don’t have this problem.

        I still refuse to use the remote control lock thingy. That’s how I roll: old fashioned, crotchety and resistant to change. I just got my first cell phone. It’s a Tracfone that cost $14.99 and I have yet to make or receive a call on it.

        1. Grandpa needs his nap 😉

            1. Hey, at least grampa knows how to text.

              I’ve got friends in their late 20’s to early 40’s who won’t text to save their lives.

              As Aziz Ansari says – ‘Are you on fire? Then *text* me that shit!”

              1. Won’t text, or won’t text you? Just sayin’….

        2. Wait, windows roll down? But, won’t that let the frozen air in?

          1. Since cars don’t come with ashtrays anymore, you have to roll them down a bit to toss your butts out. And I have some vague memory of times when having the window open is pleasant.

        3. Fuck that. My latest car has remote start, which has been the fucking shit during this winter. Start it up, walk out 15 minutes later to a toasty car. It also has cooled seats, which I can’t wait to use when it’s gets scorching hot out.

          It also has all of the latest hi-tech doo-hickeys. I don’t even have to take my keys out of my pocket to unlock it. Just walk up with the fob in my pocket and grab the handle. BOOM. Press the START button and away I go.

          I’m getting off the lawn now.

          1. The beauty of such features is the insanely expensive repairs that come with them.

            1. Which is why I opted for the 7 year bumper-to-bumper warranty. It’s a one year old CPO, so the warranty was better than cheaper than on a new car.

              1. That’s good, because those electronics get stupid expensive to fix. Like 400% mark-up expensive.

          2. Yeah, I’m sure it’s great. I’m one of these weirdos who thinks that little hardships like getting into a cold car help in developing a good moral character. And I don’t want an automatic transmission and unlearning to park with the car in gear would be difficult.

            1. I’ve got plenty of character from my past cars; several lifetime’s worth from my ’71 VW bug alone. I’ve never been that cold in a car.

              I’d like a stick, but not with DC traffic.

              My ass is ready for some fucking creature comforts.

              1. My mom had a Super Beetle when I was little. She’d plug in an electric heater in the morning for an hour or so and it would stay adequately warm for just long enough to drive to work.

                1. I had that car through 4 brutally cold winters in the early 80’s. There were times I had to pull over because the wing vent couldn’t defog the windshield. By the time I got rid of that car, very little still worked on it. I hated that fucking car with a burning passion, but it could scoot in the snow.

                  I had heat exactly one time; during one Spring. I closed the heat exchanger off and made a bet with myself that it wouldn’t be there next Winter.

                  I won that bet. And lost.

            2. If you were serious, you’d live outdoors without girly things like a roof.

              1. There is such a thing as too much moral character.

                1. The hell there is, Zebulon. You need to get more pain and suffering into your life.

    4. Actually, I just bought a Jeep with zip up windows. No power locks, no black box (from what I’ve been able to find), and a manual transmission.

      And I think I am going to keep that thing as long as duct tape can hold the rust together…

  10. In fact, official estimates say there will be only 13-15 deaths annually once the cameras become universal.

    Oh, FFS! Who exactly comes up with this stuff?

  11. I wouldn’t buy a car without a rearview camera … and I still think it’s none of the State’s damned business to mandate them.

    (I put one on my F250, and it made a world of difference, and I highly recommend them in general, with today’s high trunks and terrible rear visibility.)

    1. I heard about this guy who had this vehicle on which he encased the cabin in concrete, and he had like 360 degree camera vision.

  12. But what about the blind spot in front of the car? Or under it?

    Next years mandate.

    1. Too risky. Let’s just ban cars altogether! For the children. And Mother Gaia.

      1. Because we know horses don’t pollute (50 pounds of manure per day) like cars do.

        1. But manure is *natural*.

    2. No next year they will have an automated speeding ticket tax, go over the speed limit and the tax is taken from your bank account and given to the local law enforcement slush fund. The Supreme Court is issuing a ruling where this is not a fine but a tax.

      1. You jest, but they have to achieve those MPG standards somehow.

        1. And, of course, if they’re made of glass, cars will have to slow way the heck down. With cars operating at a maximum speed of 20 mph, people will clamor for trains, which will not operate under such restrictions.

          1. I see a bright future for you as the next Transportation Secretary. These are top ideas.

            1. I have many cunning plans.

              1. You know who else had many cunning plans?

                1. A fox that has just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University?

                  1. It’s so cunning you can brush your teeth with it.

                  1. This reminds me… My wife woke me up this morning telling me that Netflix had bought the rights to Firefly and was going to do a limited production. She showed me the article on her phone, and as soon as I read the producer’s name (Lirpa Sloof) I quickly realized that it was just a stupid joke.

      2. Where are teens supposed to get the privacy to make unwanted babies?

        1. In this age of the sex tape and social media? Teens will clamor for the glass public-sex car.

  13. Have there been any studies on the actual effectiveness of these things in preventing back-up fender benders? I don’t have one, but I’ve driven a car with one (my ex-wife’s). In my experience, when you have a camera to look at you view that in lieu of turning one’s head around and therefore miss the peripheral objects (namely cars that are not directly behind you but are approaching) and put yourself at an even greater risk of incident.

    1. I thought it was more to stop people backing over their kids and pets when they pull out of the garage.

      1. That’s the point of it, but the concern is that in practice it leads to a level of laziness in not even checking cross traffic.

        1. If it doesn’t cover the blind spots any better than mirrors do, it is going to be bad.

          1. My only experience with a backup camera was my Mother’s Nissan Murano. It had no immediate rear visibility by design. The backup camera did, in my opinion make parallel parking feel like cheating. But as you stated above, their primary purpose is to keep you from running over a small child that dips close to the rear, out of mirror scope.

            1. Using floor jacks is cheating in parallel parking.

    2. The article I read said that with universal cameras, they can remove side mirrors because all they do is reduce fuel economy.

    3. I could see the cameras preventing some backup incidents, like where a small child goes into a blind spot behind the car, but let’s be honest: most accidents are caused by dumbassery, not technical limitations. I’ve seen a few collisions, people hit by cars, etc., and my conclusions are these:

      – most accidents involve a large component of behaving like a damn fool (e.g., “I think I shall run out into the street without looking” or “I think I shall back up without looking”)

      – many accidents involve more than one damn fool at the same time (e.g. one person thinks “It would be dandy to sprint out into the street without looking” at the same time another person thinks “It would be dandy to go around this corner with poor visibility at the maximum permissible speed”)

      1. This seems to be the case. I have been driving through city neighborhoods plenty of times when some asshole thinks that just because he happens to be standing at an intersection ready to cross that he has the right of way. Somehow this means that my 3200 lb. car can just stop on a dime. The same goes for bicyclists who weave in and out of traffic and blast through red lights. Just because you *might* have the right of way, that doesn’t mean shit when you are bleeding to death in the gutter. Stop being a dumbass and live longer.

        1. The bicyclists don’t give a crap if they have right of way. They damn well know that they are supposed to follow the same rules of the road as cars.

    4. There is definitely a displacement thing that happens here. This summer, my grandfather — who had back-up cameras in his car — backed over my grandmother (wife of 60 years), which ultimately killed her. She had been standing next to the car, behind the back wheel but in front of the rear cameras. If he had turned his neck, he would have seen her easily. Unfortunately she was standing in the camera’s blindspot, and he did not turn his neck to look.

      Always turn your neck, people. Cameras or not.

      I wonder if the back-up death rate actually ends up staying flat or declining much less than projected due to the displacement of the neck-turning.

      Of course, this would also all be solved if the government let us have self-driving cars.

      1. The back-up death rate could actually increase.

      2. Sorry to hear about your loss, panimal_Z. Yeah, the answer to problems backing up is “know what’s behind you”, not just additional gadgets; the gadgets are only helpful as long as they actually help you to know and people don’t actually use the gadgets instead of their brains.

  14. Did any of these regulators ever hear of the concept of “moral hazard” (basically, delinking action and result).

    Thanks to airbags we have fools who drive even faster and closer. ABS enables my neighbors to go out in a blizzard for that ever so important lottery ticket. Idiot backup range sensors already on some models. And now this.

    1. This. I know people who think ABS allows you to tailgate, and the airbag is a sort of magic pillow.

      1. Seat belts increase the number of traffic accidents. I forget whose study that was.

    2. Yep. Volvo drivers are the worst.

      1. Volvos are the safest cars on the road because the jackwagons that drive them drive about half of the posted limit.

        1. I thought that was Buick?

    3. Idiot backup range sensors already on some models.

      You will have to take those from my cold, dead bumper. They’re handy to have if you have to do a lot of parallel parking and your car’s sight lines are shit.

      1. Maybe you should have bought a car with better visibility?

  15. The dumbing down of the human race continues…

    We won the War Against Running With Scissors, and look what it got us.

  16. I would be perfectly happy with something like a 1965 Chevy Nova II with a 327 and a 4-speed. But I like my car technology pretty dumbed down – at least when I’m trying to fix it.

    Of course the wife’s used BMW I just bought her is a nice bit of technology but I fear the various electronics, stability control, traction control, or ABS farting out – and the resulting repair bill since I won’t be fixing those bits myself.

    1. That would be a nice choice.
      My summer driver is a 1970 Caprice, 350 small block, 3 speed auto. Land Yacht.

      1. Made when giants ruled the land.

    2. They don’t fix anything electronic anymore- they just “swap out the module”. Don’t worry, they don’t share the savings with you.

  17. Statutory Grape Plymouth Satellite Sebring Plus

    Bah! nFour speed ’68 GTX convertible or nothing.

    1. Her mom had one and I’m replicating it as a surprise.

      And I’m not a brazillionaire….

  18. Fuck it. I’m never buying a car from later than 2000 again.

    1. Thanks to the Obama administration, half of the cars built before 2000 have been destroyed in an effort to save the environment.

      1. And it really did fuck the used car market. And made more pollution. Even most enviro-weenies now will agree that keeping an old car running is less environmentally impactful than building a whole new car from scratch (especially ones with 1000 lbs of batteries in them).

        1. Nothing scream “I love the earth” more than a trunkful of nickel metal hydride.

        2. But the multiplier pulled the economy out of the ditch…right?

      2. Actaully what I really want is cars made before 1994 so I don’t have to pass the emissions inspection. I had a 1992 Subaru Legacy that was perfect in every way. They should just make exactly that car forever.

        1. Actaully what I really want is cars made before 1994 so I don’t have to pass the emissions inspection.

          What if I put an electric motor in my pickup and run it off a wood-fired thermocouple? Will the Green Weenies be happy with me then?

          1. A Stirling engine would be cooler and more efficient.

          2. Why not just by the “Hybrid” nameplate off the internet and glue it to the back of your tailgate?

        2. I drive a ’94 F150 4×4 and will keep it running as long as I am able. Why? Because it has something no new truck has. A wing window.

          1. I had a 1993. It finally rusted the hell out a few years ago. That’s New England for you.

          2. What ever happened to wing windows anyway?

  19. In fact, official estimates say there will be only 13-15 deaths annually once the cameras become universal.

    Wait, what?

    That’s some mighty effective regulating, Boss.

    1. There will be only 13-15 cars on the road, so…

  20. Cool! Now you when you run somebody over, you won’t even need to get out of the car to check on the roadkill. Very convenient.

    Seriously though, their reduced death estimates appear to assume that people who currently don’t pay attention to what they are doing will suddenly start paying attention to camera screens. I’d rate it as a ‘maybe’.

    1. Well if you could upload those videos to utube it might be worth it.

      1. Agreed. The backup “BEEP-BEEP-BEEP” alert of my old truck was a lot more startling than a silent image on the middle of my dash that I’m not going to pay attention to anyway.

      2. +1 Toonces The Driving Cat.

  21. How about we mandate that people watch their damn kids.

    1. In the 1970’s there was a brief fad of fitting kid’s bikes with orange flags on six foot poles. Anybody remember that?
      I grew up near Boston, MA.

      1. Yep. Most kids had them for a while.

        1. I remember those but I didn’t have one on my spider bike. Back then rural NY was still a fun place to grow up.

          1. I had one of those banana seats, too. The 70s were a fun yet stylistically weird time to be a kid.

            1. Schwinn Orange Crate FTW

              1. My bike was orange. I had a Schwinn ten-speed later on. Great bike.

  22. Somebody said on the AM Links that they’re thinking of replacing side view mirrors as well due to reduced mileage or something. Are they gonna put a monitor inside your windows or something?

    Self-driving cars are the future. This other bullshit is the auto manufacturers trying to hang onto relevance for a little while longer…with the collusion of the government of course.

  23. “Hey, you kids get the hell out of the driveway! You wanna get run over?”

    It worked at our house.

  24. If cars hadn’t been invented yet, they would never get approved now.

    1. We’re going to make them too expensive for the Plebians.

  25. Meh. I don’t like it being mandated by the gubmt, but they are REALLY useful. However, the key is to have the camera available immediately after starting the car. My Murano’s camera takes like 5 seconds to initialize, and by that time I’m halfway down the driveway. If Big Brother is doing his job right, he’ll add this to the list.

    1. My wife’s new Mazda 6 has it pop on as soon as you put the car in reverse. It takes less time than for me to take my foot off the brake.

      Plus it has a proximity sensor on the back and sides which is nice.

      When I’m using her car, I hate SUVs a little less — I can actually see while backing out when parked next to them.

  26. Too fucking late, government! My great uncle (and he was pretty great too) was backed over and killed by a fork lift at a government recycling center.

    Am I in line for some reparations or something?

    1. No, but you are entitled to a lecture on immunity and why it helps to make America the land of the rule of law.

      1. Don’t you mean the land of FYTW?

      2. Plus sensitivity training because the government forklift is an oppressed victim.

  27. I bet it won’t take fifty years before the cost of cars with all these electronic gadgets is so high that proggies will be demanding buyer subsidies so no one is denied his right to transportation.

  28. They’re pretty nifty, and I expect that they would become standard on all but the cheapest cars in the near future. Which is why the NHTSA is not only an affront to liberty but to common sense as well.

  29. I find having the top down on the Mustang GT convertible is even better. The camera’s nice on the old cold day when you don’t want the top down.

    Otherwise – the butler drive us in the Rolls, so… #notsomethingIworryabout

  30. Hm. So, by this logic, shouldn’t they outlaw doctors, swimming, glucose, CO2, and the sun? Wait, isn’t that the whole nanny state thing with banning things?

    Basically, a bunch of greedy and inept bureaucrats want to rake in some cash by tugging the heartstrings of incompetent, irresponsible emotional wrecks. Oh wait. That’s progressivism. Sorry. Forgot.

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