If you’re shopping for a new vehicle and it doesn’t have a backup camera or the feature costs extra, then it was built before Tuesday, May 1st, 2018. That’s when the safety device became standard on all vehicles made for the American market. The standardization is part of a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulation issued in 2014, although Peter Kurdock, deputy general counsel with the Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety, said the effort to make backup cameras standard began back when George W. Bush was president. “It literally took us 10 years to get them into the cars,” Kurdock .
The group, which is composed of property and casualty insurers as well as consumer advocates—known by the shorthand Advocates—joined other safety and consumer groups in , alleging that the federal agency had not done enough to standardize the equipment. In 2014, NHTSA mandated the devices be in all new cars as of May 1, 2018.
Advocates and other consumer-safety groups would like to see all cars equipped with other advanced-safety technology, such as automated-emergency braking (AEB) with forward-collision alert, blind-spot warning, and lane-departure warning. Twenty automakers have pledged to make AEB standard by 2022; the technology is prominently featured in many automakers’ lineups already, with the likes of , , and leading the way.
But Advocates and others would like industry-wide standardization of these safety features to come sooner. Citing Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) figures, the group says rear automated braking reduces reverse-gear collisions by 62 percent, AEB with forward-collision warning cuts front-end wrecks by 50 percent, blind-spot warning reduces lane-changing accidents by 14 percent, and lane-departure warning cuts single-vehicle sideswipes and head-on crashes by 11 percent.
In the meantime, the regulation regarding backup cameras should help consumers save some money on what had previously been optional equipment on many new cars, Advocates said. Kurdock noted that backup cameras sometimes were bundled with parking assist and other sensor-activated features, or the cameras were rolled into pricier luxury packages along with unrelated items such as leather seats. For people whose cars do not have the feature, it’s possible to retrofit aftermarket systems; they range anywhere from about $100 to $200 for a full kit with an LCD screen.