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Department of Transportation Makes Rear View Cameras Mandatory

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the because-using-your-mirrors-is-hard dept.

Transportation 518

An anonymous reader writes "The Department of Transportation issued a new rule (PDF) on Monday requiring car manufacturers to include rearview cameras in all cars manufactured after May 1, 2018. The rule applies to all cars weighing less than 10,000 pounds, including buses and trucks, but does not include motorcycles and trailers. '[The cameras] must give drivers a field of vision measuring at least 10 by 20 feet directly behind the vehicle. The system must also meet other requirements including dashboard image size, lighting conditions and display time.' An estimated 13 to 15 deaths and 1,125 injuries may be prevented with the implementation of this new requirement."

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Grabs popcorn (0)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46629141)

This should be good....

More mandated bugging devices (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629147)

Welcome to "the land of incrementally deprived of their liberty because they don't see the inevitable coming".

Re:More mandated bugging devices (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 7 months ago | (#46629259)

Welcome to "the land of incrementally deprived of their liberty because they don't see the inevitable coming".

But at least with the rear-view camera they should be able to see the flattened wreck they have just run over

0/10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629149)

even with a perfect surprise attack, not even remotely convincing

might as well post an article alerting us that it's april again

Re:0/10 (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46629187)

Huh? http://www.usa.gov/ [usa.gov] isn't known for it's prankish of humor....

Sadly it looks genuine. (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 7 months ago | (#46629595)

If it is an Aprils Fool its the unfunniest in many a year. But given the way government in all countries and car manufacturers seem to be mandating more and more tech in cars this move doesn't surprise me in the least.

Latest wheeze in the UK - all new models of car MUST be fitted with stability control and it MUST work else the car will fail its annual test and you won't be able to take it on a public road.

I don't need this (5, Funny)

amalcolm (1838434) | about 7 months ago | (#46629153)

I've got eyes in the back of my head, you insensitive clod!

Re:I don't need this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629331)

I've got eyes in the back of my head, you insensitive clod!

Hi, Mom!

Re:I don't need this (1)

laejoh (648921) | about 7 months ago | (#46629465)

Are those your eyes or are those NSA's?

13 deaths? (4, Insightful)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#46629157)

Let's just ban cars. And scissors. How many people died from choking last year? Surely there's some way to prevent those.

Re:13 deaths? (5, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#46629253)

30 people died from choking on scissors last year.

Re:13 deaths? (0)

OffTheWallSoccer (1699154) | about 7 months ago | (#46629263)

Let's just ban cars. And scissors. How many people died from choking last year? Surely there's some way to prevent those.

And if they don't ban cars, they should at least ban alcohol, because that would save thousands of auto fatalities per year.
And guns, too....lots of lives to be saved there.
And mosquitos, those little malaria-carrying bastards.

These busy bodies are just thinking too small.

Re:13 deaths? (4, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 7 months ago | (#46629291)

These busy bodies are just thinking too small.

A lot of the world's problems could be solved by banning busybodies. ;-)

Re:13 deaths? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629413)

how about politicians? After all wars kill a lot of people. Some of them are even American.

Re:13 deaths? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 months ago | (#46629287)

I agree. As someone who doesn't own a car, because of the expense, this isn't likely to make me want to buy a new one. With all the stuff they have to include now, a car in way more complicated, way more expensive to buy, and way more expensive to maintain than it needs to be. Cars would probably be a lot safer if they were made more simply, and they didn't change the design ever 2 or 3 years. Stick with time tested designs and get all the bugs out and you'd end up with a car that was reliable and safe.

Re:13 deaths? (2)

hankwang (413283) | about 7 months ago | (#46629389)

Cars would probably be a lot safer if they were made more simply, and they didn't change the design ever 2 or 3 years. Stick with time tested designs and get all the bugs out and you'd end up with a car that was reliable and safe.

That is a strong assertion. Can you back that up? Over the years, cars have become safer both for the people inside and other road users (well, the latter probably doesn't really hold for SUV monsters), and also got much better fuel economy. A lot of that you can't achieve by debugging an existing design. Think of aerodynamics and crumple zones, which are integrated into the entire car design. Over here (Netherlands), the minimum age and frequency for mandatory technical inspections of old cars have been relaxed over the years, apparently because of the increase in durability.

Re:13 deaths? (2)

jythie (914043) | about 7 months ago | (#46629447)

I think there might be something to be said for keeping with older behaviors at least. Older car behaviors were fairly obvious, the car did what you told it to do, newer ones you kinda have to guess at what the manufacturer THINKS you are going to do and then what the car will actually do.

Just this weekend I nearly got into an accident when my new car's 'anti-skid' protection switched on unexpectedly.....

Re:13 deaths? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629533)

Bull fucking shit. You're telling me you can't drive safely unless you can lose traction? You are full of shit. The nannies do exactly the opposite. They make the car go where you put it. You not knowing where to put it isn't the cars fault.

Re:13 deaths? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 months ago | (#46629597)

Cars have become safer, and them are more reliable, but this isn't because we have added more components. Bicycles have also become safer and more reliable over the years and isn't because manufacturers starting adding tons of extra components to them. They have also become a lot cheaper (relative to inflation) than they once were. Aerodynamics and crumple zones are examples of technology that is good for cars. Things like mandatory rear view cameras for people who are too lazy to look in the rear view mirror they already have are an example of technology that isn't really helping anything.

Re:13 deaths? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629399)

Agreed.

Honestly, backup cams are not going to help. I actually think it might increase the number of people killed, since the view from the fucking pinhole camera is severely distorted and has no real peripheral sight at all. I just drove a rental this weekend that has one, and I nearly killed a dude in a golf cart backing out of the parking lot.

The only way to make it actually safer to back up is to physically fucking look out your rear and side windows when backing up. You essentially put blinders on by only watching a video screen in your dash. Makes you far more susceptible to being T-boned by some other dumbfuck who isn't paying attention to cars backing out in front of them.

Re:13 deaths? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629537)

Not to mention how many people will be paying more attention to that camera than their surroundings. Is it really so hard to turn your head? You get a much better view that way, even of things not yet in the camera's view.

Just ban lazy drivers and we'll be fine.

Re:13 deaths? (5, Interesting)

plover (150551) | about 7 months ago | (#46629553)

Umm... this law is a direct result of that testing process you referred to in the phrase "time-tested". Time has shown that there are about 300 deaths per year due to backing over people. Time has also shown backup cameras to be highly effective at preventing these deaths. Backup cameras fix the "bug" (the blind spot behind and below the trunk of the car.)

If you think this makes a car too expensive, what price do you put on accidentally running over a human being? Let's say a dead person costs $6 million. (That was the price a few years ago from my state, who figured out the amount they'd spend on an unsafe road to fix the problem after a fatality.) If you were to spread the price of 300 dead people (6*300 = 1.8 billion dollars) and divide by the number of cars sold in the US per year (estimating 20 million) that works out to $90 per car sold. Multiply that by an average 10 year lifetime of a car and it works out to $900 per car. If a camera costs less than that, it's cheaper for society to require them to fix the problem.

Mathematically, it's cheaper to require the cameras than to live with the deaths they could prevent.

Re:13 deaths? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629387)

You forgot sharks [wikipedia.org] and coconuts [wikipedia.org] .

Re:13 deaths? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629425)

Having known someone that ran over their daughter at age 4 when she ran out to wish him good by before he left, and killed her. This is more important to you then you think.

Personally I would have saved several bikes and skate boards over the years.

Re:13 deaths? (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 7 months ago | (#46629547)

Personally I would have saved several bikes and skate boards over the years.

The rest of us learned to put our toys away after playing. And also learned not to put our toys behind cars parked in the driveway.

As to your friend, we can all sympathize, yet still feel this is not the solution to the problem.

Re:13 deaths? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629555)

Important to you, and that someone, sure. But does that mean I have to care too? I have to pay for a backup camera cause you're afraid to drive?

Re:13 deaths? (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 7 months ago | (#46629563)

Well no, that is the total amount now; so its more like the maximum benefit you can possibly expect if the backup cameras are 100% effective at preventing such deaths. You will not possibly save more than about 13 lives on average per year. Since any measure is unlikely to be 100% effective, it is actually less than that.

Good.... (4, Interesting)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 7 months ago | (#46629161)

They can include a dash cam and side view cameras as well along with an interface that allows me to copy filmed material to an SD card or something... That would have saved me twice from getting stuck with being 50 percent at fault (both times the other driver ignored a red light).

Re:Good.... (2)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 7 months ago | (#46629217)

In Soviet Russia, dash cams are compulsory!

Hmmm, that didn't quite work out like I wanted.

Re:Good.... (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46629297)

I think it should be: "In Soviet Russia, dash cam films YOU".

(hmmm....still doesn't work, but at least it has the "you" in the right place)

Re:Good.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629499)

In soviet russia, cameras film pedestrians hitting YOU.

Works, and is sadly accurate

Re:Good.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629551)

That would have saved me twice from getting stuck with being 50 percent at fault

Either that, or your own initiative would.

What society really needs to do (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46629163)

What society really needs to do is admit that some people are simply unfit to be in control of a vehicle and deny them a license.

Fail the test three times, that's it. No more chances.

PS: I guess this isn't too expensive. By 2018 screens will be standard instead of analog instruments (they're cheaper!) and cameras will cost $0.10.

Re:What society really needs to do (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 7 months ago | (#46629221)

Without necessarily contradicting you, this requirement should ensure that people with neck and back injuries that make it difficult to check the blind spot can still drive safely.

On the other hand, I would prefer a heads-up option. Situational awareness is everything in a manoeuvre.

Re:What society really needs to do (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46629339)

Me? I want compulsory auto-brakes fitted for people who use the "I know I'm there when I hit the car behind me" method of parallel parking.

Also: Doors which lock in position before they bang the car next to you in parking lots.

Re:What society really needs to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629381)

I fail to see how appropriate periphery proximity sensors on the car would not achieve the same goal. Could even virtualize an image perhaps.

Also, are there any concerns about camera recording? As in, while in Reverse, it shows you the feed behind, while in Drive, you never see the camera feed but it's still streaming, or worse, recording A/V? This feels too big brotherish to me. Telling me this is the cheapest route to take for the entire industry? Show me the math and I might believe it.

This could also be lucrative for the auto insurance industry if these devices are recording at all times, or at least saving buffered data for a period of time. Perhaps if an accident occurs, that data won't be overwritten? It just seems like there are too many hands in this, and it screams more of money than it does it's foremost concern. Safety!

Re:What society really needs to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629237)

but will be marked up 1000% to increase overall cost by $2000

Re:What society really needs to do (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46629265)

Oh, dear...

For a laugh I just googled the average number off attempts needed to pass the driving test.

The UK government actually publishes statistics of "pass rate by ethnicity of candidate", and.... Asians and blacks are more likely to fail the test than whites.

https://www.gov.uk/government/... [www.gov.uk]

Re:What society really needs to do (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629373)

But is that a comment on driving skills or prejudice of testers?

Re:What society really needs to do (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46629451)

is that a comment on driving skills or prejudice of testers?

I don't know. It still seems to hold in cities which are predominantly black/Asian, eg. "Birmingham (Garretts Green)" where only 10% of candidates are labelled "White".

I think it's amusing that a government would even publish something like that.

Re:What society really needs to do (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 7 months ago | (#46629375)

Oh, dear...

For a laugh I just googled the average number off attempts needed to pass the driving test.

The UK government actually publishes statistics of "pass rate by ethnicity of candidate", and.... Asians and blacks are more likely to fail the test than whites.

https://www.gov.uk/government/... [www.gov.uk]

That doesn't tell you much unless you cross-reference with other data (are they taking it at a later age, maybe more immigrants in this group) and other factors (like are they immigrants who take the test early because they have driven in other countries), and motivation (my wife was very relaxed about her test as she could drive for a year on an overseas license before passing. It was quite amusing when she failed first time, said thanks, and drove off!).

Re:What society really needs to do (1)

dargaud (518470) | about 7 months ago | (#46629449)

Maybe when you are poor (=ethnic) you can't afford as many lessons before trying the test, hence a higher fail rate.

Re:What society really needs to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629267)

It might very well cost the car makers $0.10 for a camera, that won't stop them from jacking the price of the car by $500 and blaming the government.

Re:What society really needs to do (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629309)

The problem isn't people who fail their test dozens of times, who are a minority. The problem is people who capably pass the test (the US driving test is a joke, to be honest) and then go off and drive badly.

Re:What society really needs to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629311)

No. What people like you need to understand is that humans make mistakes and they also can have a bad day. If you can help them get over their mistakes and alert them about their surroundings when they have a bad day, you can reduce the risk of other people. Anyone can be highly prepared for a test, but under non controlled conditions and different stress levels people can act differently, and it's hard to catch that on many tests.

The people that text while driving won't be testing during the test.

Re:What society really needs to do (5, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#46629325)

What society really needs to do is admit that some people are simply unfit to be in control of a vehicle and deny them a license.

Eventually it will come to the conclusion that all people are unfit to be in control of vehicles, and let the vehicles drive themselves.

Re:What society really needs to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629343)

What society really needs to do is admit that some people are simply unfit to be in control of a vehicle and deny them a license.

That's exactly what society does do, when it suspends or removes licenses from people who have proven themselves unfit to be in control of a vehicle.

Fail the test three times, that's it. No more chances.

Except instead of this stupid way of doing it, that's based on some ridiculous bias against people who take a while to learn to drive, they do it by removing licenses from people after they've proven they're unfit to drive.

The assumption is fit to drive until proven otherwise, like innocent until proven guilty, you know.

Re:What society really needs to do (2)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 7 months ago | (#46629603)

It also doesn't take into consideration the differences between the various autos on the road.

Case in point, I failed the driving test twice because in car I was taking the test in (my mother's Lumina) it was physically impossible to do a three-point turn in the manner it was taught on the narrow road they tested you on. Mom was livid after the 2nd one so I drove the car back to the road & bet her $25 she couldn't do it either. Not only did she fail, she did a worse job of it than I did. I passed the 3rd time, same car. Had to do a reverse three-point turn, we had figured out that the car had a much tighter turning radius when you started the turn in reverse instead of drive. This wasn't an issue in any of the vehicles I had driven up to this point.

~20 years & around 400,000 miles later, I've never been in any kind of auto accident & haven't even had a ticket in over a decade.

Re:What society really needs to do (2)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 7 months ago | (#46629477)

Only on Slashdot will you see such a bizarre juxtaposition of rabid rights defenders -- to the point of saying that sometimes people need to die in order to uphold our civil rights and freedoms -- who so quickly reverse course when it comes to driving. In a country where one is afforded the right to move about and take residence where they please and has thousands of small, remote communities (not everyone wants to live in a big city, y'know), transportation, by necessity, needs to be made a right. By the far the most practical and affordable way (to tax payers) is to license people to drive without unreasonable restrictions.

Slashdot will defend the rights of suspected *child molesters* on the basis that every citizen deserves civil rights until it can be justifiably determined to suspend some of them. But bad drivers? Pffft, fuck those guys!

You're as bad as everyone else with their pet rights you like to defend because they could conceivably come around to affect you.

Re:What society really needs to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629573)

By the far the most practical and affordable way (to tax payers) is to license people to drive without unreasonable restrictions.

Are you serious? Have a look at all of the bad drivers around you, and you want to make it even less restrictive? Let's see that when you're hit either as a motorist or a pedestrian.

Your argument about being allowed to move around freely is bunk. If you move to the middle of no where, then you need to be prepared to be able to do what is necessary to get around. You shouldn't be awarded a license to kill just because you felt the need to be somewhere you had to drive to get around, yet lack the skills.

Re:What society really needs to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629587)

Fail the test three times, that's it. No more chances.

People change. There are people who are to immature to drive a car when they are 20. Just because they fail three times then doesn't mean that they are unfit to drive when they are 30.
There are also people who were great drivers when they were in their 20ies but doesn't have the awareness necessary once they turned 60.
With that said I don't see a problem with limiting the number of tests taken over a time span but I would say that two-three times a year is a good place to start. If more limited it might result in a situation where people who shouldn't drive still gets a license because "it would be too harsh" to deny it. I'd rather see a system that works than one that is perfect.
Also, a drivers license should only be valid for 20 years or so. Preferably 10, but whatever. A 20 year timespan seems lenient enough to actually be implemented and is a lot better than no limit.

Ok if the camera does not record (1)

torsmo (1301691) | about 7 months ago | (#46629173)

If it merely transmits the motion capture to a display, I don't see how this can be possibly abused. But I expects acts of vandalism against this to happen, nonetheless.

Re:Ok if the camera does not record (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 7 months ago | (#46629317)

About half of all current-model-year cars in the US have them already, so I really doubt it's going to be an issue.

Self driving car (3, Insightful)

zerosomething (1353609) | about 7 months ago | (#46629179)

So about 2 years after this is required most high end autos will be equipped with self driving systems making the rule almost irrelevant. It won't be long before technology will be outpacing this kind of safety law. We really should be putting energy into liability issues around the self driving car.

Re:Self driving car (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 7 months ago | (#46629333)

It's not for "high-end autos", it's a requirement for all cars.

Small market, won't matter (2, Insightful)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 7 months ago | (#46629349)

Given the amount of options we have already of not having to drive ourselves to get anywhere, people will not be using the self driving feature for most of the time. That gives the self driving feature on cars a very small market since the price of a vehicle with self driving capability will be much higher than the equivalent vehicle that doesn't have the option. The safety advance we will see in practice from self driving cars will be rather insignificant the first few years the technology is available at least and unless mandated to be switched on permanently, it will take many years before a significant number of drivers will have it on their cars and using it.

Re:Self driving car (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629601)

Self-driving cars likely won't be on the roads for a good 20-30 years.

13 Deaths? (0, Troll)

Bartles (1198017) | about 7 months ago | (#46629181)

Let's just ban cars. And sharp scissors. How many people died from choking last year? Surely there's something we can do to prevent those deaths.

Re:13 Deaths? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46629205)

Twice? Seriously? How does it feel to be a drooling idiot?

Re:13 Deaths? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 7 months ago | (#46629277)

Twice? Seriously? How does it feel to be a drooling idiot?

Just like being an idiot, except you can feel the wet drool dripping out of your mouth and over your chin.

Re:13 Deaths? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629227)

Can we ban double posting, too?

Wrong Way (1)

ketomax (2859503) | about 7 months ago | (#46629195)

requiring car manufacturers to include rearview cameras in all cars

What's wrong with cameras mounted at the front? At least one can record the journey properly that way.

Yeah right. (1)

umafuckit (2980809) | about 7 months ago | (#46629213)

It's April 1st. You're not fooling anyone.

Re:Yeah right. (1)

jittles (1613415) | about 7 months ago | (#46629443)

This is legit. Regular news sources picked this up yesterday. Sadly, I've seen people who over rely on these cameras almost hit people by not checking the sides of their car!

Re:Yeah right. (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 7 months ago | (#46629467)

It's April 1st. You're not fooling anyone.

I don't care, this is a good idea. I installed a dash cam in my car. It's just a HD webcam hooked up to a board computer that runs a C++ daemon using the OpenCV libraries but I have already captured some rather spectacular footage. Including a car that had gone off the road in icy conditions, there was a light post which the car had sheared off it's mounting resting on the car's roof (I arrived at the scene post facto). A couple of days ago I captured another bit off scary footage when I had to drive onto the shoulder of the road to avoid a frontal collision with a guy who decided it was a good idea to overhaul three other cars on blind turn in the road. If this keeps up I'll set up a YouTube channel and a website that uses the footage as a library of examples for student drivers of how not to drive.

A $3,000 'system' not a $10 beeper (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 7 months ago | (#46629219)

Sounds great. Because if nothing else fat lazy drunk sweating bastards who don't look behind them are going to stare into a monitor. And it's going to be a device that's also used for navigation and DVD's which states want to ban anyway. 12-15 lives? Woo hoo! Let's give out a Nobel Prize for this one

Don't they already? (1)

grub (11606) | about 7 months ago | (#46629235)

What cars don't have rear view cameras these days?

Re:Don't they already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629365)

Lots of cars don't have rear view cameras these days. I'd go as far as to say most don't. Like, what's the median car price? Bump that up to the 75th percentile and you probably start to see rear view cameras installed. Stop pretending you're only even aware of expensive cars. If you drive, you're on the road, surrounded by cars without rear view cameras.

Re:Don't they already? (1)

grub (11606) | about 7 months ago | (#46629383)

We picked up a new car in September. Everything we looked at had cameras and they weren't super-expensive like a Ferrari. Granted we didn't look at Kia or the like. You can't see cameras when in traffic.

Car prices jump by $5000... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629245)

Because the auto makers will use this as an excuse to further rape the public.

rear view cameras cost $29.00 RETAIL, this includes the camera and the little display. Yet the car makers will use this as a reason to violently rape the consumer.

Re:Car prices jump by $5000... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629293)

Thats $5000 every time you get in a fender bender which destroys the camera.

Re:Car prices jump by $5000... (1)

alen (225700) | about 7 months ago | (#46629507)

i imagine they have to run the camera to the dash and wire it into the transmission so that every time you go into R it automatically switches to the display. and test the whole thing

Why do I need a rear view camera (1, Funny)

AnalogDiehard (199128) | about 7 months ago | (#46629261)

Why do I need a camera to see my rear view? They make my ass look big.

13 to 15 deaths (1)

ssam (2723487) | about 7 months ago | (#46629289)

and what do you do about the other 30,000 people killed on US roads each year? (plus many more from the air pollution from vehicles)

Re:13 to 15 deaths (1)

moj0e (812361) | about 7 months ago | (#46629391)

Hopefully Intelligent Transportation Systems (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_transportation_system) will be mature enough to reduce those accidents/deaths as well. But for now, we will have to be content with 15 - 30 lives.

On a personal note, a close friend of ours lost their child to an accident that could have been avoided with a rear-view camera. Seeing all the pain that they went through, it makes me wish this existed back then.

No kidding (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 7 months ago | (#46629395)

I'm all for new safety standards... if they are useful. I mean we've made great strides in reducing car fatalities. They've been dropping in absolute and per captia numbers since the late 60s, and in deaths per million vehicle miles traveled since 1921, when we started keeping statistics. That's a really good thing, that while driving more than ever less people die. The major reason is better safety standards, things like mandatory seatbelts, cars that deform and crumple to absorb the energy of an impact and lessen the acceleration shock to the occupants and so on.

However, costs and benefits have to be kept in proportion. How many deaths will something likely prevent, vs what will it cost? This is not many deaths, particularly compared to the number that occur, and I have to imagine the cost will be a fair bit. Particularly in lower end cars. Not only do you need a camera, but you need a display system for it, which probably means a digital instrument cluster. That's a fair bit more up front, and more expensive to maintain.

Backup cameras are nice but (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 7 months ago | (#46629313)

1) Cars should make beeping noises in reverse just like trucks

2) Cars should have backup sonar/radar/sensor to detect pedestrians and other cars

My car has a backup camera and I usually use it, but sometimes I'm not looking at it when backing up and instead using mirrors.

The point being, a backup camera doesn't mean you are necessarily looking at the screen --- especially when you don't think there is anything behind you to worry about.

Re:Backup cameras are nice but (1)

WillAdams (45638) | about 7 months ago | (#46629379)

God no. Why make even more noise pollution?

Instead:

1) Drivers should walk around a vehicle before getting in and verify the condition of the vehicle and that it will be safe to move it

2) Drivers should back up slowly and carefully using their mirrors and should not drive vehicles which they're not competent to handle.

The nanny state continues (3, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 7 months ago | (#46629345)

All because people are too lazy or too fat to turn around in their seat and look behind them or check their side mirrors.

I can't count the number of people I see every week who, when backing up, only look in their rear view mirror to see what's behind them. It is a rare sight indeed to see someone do what they're supposed to and turn around both ways to look behind them.

This is the result. Another piece of useless cruft shoehorned into a car just waiting to implode and cost the owner hundreds of dollars in repairs.

Re:The nanny state continues (1)

dargaud (518470) | about 7 months ago | (#46629469)

True story: at work (in the US), we'd all pile up in a few cars to go out to lunch. One day we get in the car of our new hire and she steps on it in reverse to get out of her spot. Someone blurts: "Don't you look before reversing ?!?". Her: "And how do you suggest I do that ?". "Well, either turn around or look in the mirror...". "Nah, they do that in the movies !"

In Massachusetts... (4, Funny)

srussia (884021) | about 7 months ago | (#46629361)

they can be tilted slightly up!

I find my backup camera useful (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about 7 months ago | (#46629363)

Notwithstanding my opinion of whether the government should mandate these, I find my backup camera provides a view that cannot be matched simply by some notion of "driving skill".

I can see exactly what is on the ground behind the rear of my vehicle. This allows me to drive in reverse with more confidence.

I wouldn't necessarily consider this mandatory safety equipment though. By their own estimates this will only result in the prevention of 13 to 15 deaths. There are, what, 330 million people in this country?

Re:I find my backup camera useful (2)

nblender (741424) | about 7 months ago | (#46629565)

I've driven a car with a backup camera. It made me distinctly uneasy so I stopped using it.

The problem I discovered is the backup camera can tell you what's behind you... It can't tell you what's _about_ to be behind you. That's information you get only by looking around and through the windows.

If I'm already looking through the windows to see what's in proximity, I don't need another place to look.

Do the maths (1)

quenda (644621) | about 7 months ago | (#46629367)

15 million light vehicles per year, so over 1 billion dollars, and they say it will save "13 to 15 lives per year and prevent as many as 1,125 injuries annually".

I don't want to get all Tyler Durden, but are there more effective ways of spending all that money? e.g. road improvements or driver education and law enforcement?

Re:Do the maths (1)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 7 months ago | (#46629489)

Usual benchmark for $/life saved is about $6 million, although might be higher in this case, since the lives saved are likely to be disproportionately children, so more years of life saved/lost, so more $/life. So, the saved lives are around $100 million. Depending on the severity of the injuries, $800k each doesn't seem that absurd. Still, does seem like a bit of a stretch to say that it's the best way to do this.

Re:Do the maths (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629501)

Look at the date of the posting. Honestly it's a pretty pathetic attempt.

Re:Do the maths (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629515)

I'd imagine vast majority 2018 cars would've had cameras anyway. This requirement is simply to ensure that all of them have it.

Maximal advantage 13 - 15 in practice much lower (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 7 months ago | (#46629401)


Given the enormous amount of people dying from car related accidents, 13 - 15 is a statistically insignificant number of deaths and injuries prevented already. The actual number that it will achieve is probably lower, since people already have plenty of options to check what and who is behind their vehicle before backing up. Having a rear view camera and a screen isn't going to help a lot here, since people will mostly ignore that just as much as their rear view mirrors and their surroundings as they are approaching the car before getting in.

Yearly health and driving capability tests will each give a much better result than mandating a rear view camera. Trying to get that sort of regulation passed in Washington however is not going to happen, since it will interfere with the "freedom" of people and it might get half of the senate's licenses revoked.

Lousy Cost/Benefit ratio (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 7 months ago | (#46629411)

13 to 15 deaths due to inattentive drivers will not be stopped by having a rear view camera. Inattentive drivers are going to be inattentive with or without the technology aid.

Forcing people to spend billions of dollars a year for nothing isn't justifiable.

Calendar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629433)

Anyone care to take a look at the calendar ?

Oh no (2)

countach (534280) | about 7 months ago | (#46629437)

It's that time of year again on Slashdot.

Govt out of control (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 7 months ago | (#46629439)

So now everybody buying a car or light truck will be saddled with an additional cost. Is this to "save" the children? All... 14 a year? All 1,100 injuries a year? Or is it about over a $1B bottom line to some industry? Or is it just another excuse to medddle in our lives? More kids probably die eating pop tarts each year.

The safety nannies are out of fucking control and it is high time they all were run over - without helmets of course.

13 to 15 deaths... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629459)

Is it really worth it? USA kills that many people around the world in a single day...

Pounds and feet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629463)

Do they still use these medieval units in a law? Wow...

this is supposed to save money? (5, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 7 months ago | (#46629523)

So, an average of 7 million cars sold each year.

About half already have these cameras.

Using the NHTSB estimates ($43 to upgrade models that already do backup cams to meet the new spec, $143 to put them in models that don't currently do that), we get an approximate cost to implement this mandate of $650 milllion annually.

Which will prevent ~15 deaths per year, and ~1200 serious injuries.

So, $40 million per death, or $$500,000 per injury. Seems to me it costs less than $500,000 to treat someone for an injury, so I'm not sure how this is going to "save money".

And 15 deaths is so trivial as to be ridiculous. Hell, we even have more measles deaths than that (60 on average, in years we don't have a massive outbreak like this year)....

A drop in the ocean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629539)

Annual road deaths in the USA are around 35000.

Useless Most of the Time (4, Insightful)

neorush (1103917) | about 7 months ago | (#46629549)

Our rearview camera is completely useless about 70% of the time, as the snow and mud almost always have it covered unless you physically get out of the car and clean it off. But good thing for this, lets make cars even more expensive for average joe just trying to get by.

Won't make a difference (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 7 months ago | (#46629557)

Here is the problem, backup cameras only work if you aren't distracted or preoccupied and actually look at the screen. Now, if people are currently distracted and preoccupied so they fail to look at the rear view mirror, why would anybody expect the backup camera to be any better? This is just an example of passing regulations that appear to do something but really don't. And it is expensive!

In the US about 15M new cars are sold each year. Assuming the manufactures add a backup camera at cost, which would be $100, that will cost consumers $1.5B. Of course the manufactures won't add it at cost and most likely will be between $500 - $1000 per vehicle, which now raises the annual consumer cost to $7.5B - $15B per year or about $1B for every person killed each year.

The assumption with all of this, for it to work, is that the driver will first check the video screen before backing up. If they aren't checking their side and rear view mirrors, why would anybody expect them to check the screen? Even if they do, it only shows them what is behind them at the moment they are looking, unless the expectation is they are going to keep their eyes focused on the screen during the entire backing up, which of course means, they can't be watching for traffic, it still won't protect against the child/person who steps behind the vehicle once it is moving.

I guess the only good news about all of this is that they didn't mandate an interlock system where the car would not back up if it thought something or someone was in the way. That would have been even more costly, but at least it would have a chance of saving the .01% of the people that might be killed by a new car backing up. But, as long as the safety system relies on the driver to make sure things are clear, it really doesn't make much difference if there is a camera or a mirror and expecting it to, is wishful thinking.

why only vehicles under 10,000 pounds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46629561)

you would think that vehicles over 10,000 pounds would be the priority.

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