Now that backup cameras have been a common feature in new vehicles for several years, research is underway to determine whether they are actually saving lives. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that, “Despite the growing prevalence of backup cameras, federal data shows that this technology hasn’t significantly cut down on cars backing into people and causing them harm.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), between 2008 and 2011, the percentage of new cars with backup cameras installed spiked from 32 percent to 68 percent. During that same time period, back-over injuries only dropped less than eight percent, from 13,000 to 12,000. A Boston motor vehicle accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
Fatal back-over accidents, however, have decreased more significantly. The Los Angeles Times reported that, “The fatality rate has improved somewhat, dropping 31% over the same period.” Even so, back-over fatalities are actually quite rare. Deaths caused by a vehicle moving in reverse fell from 274 to 189 during the three-year period between 2008 and 2011. The article did not indicate how many of these accidents involved a backup camera, if any.
When you ask someone who uses a backup camera if they think it’s effective, most say “absolutely!”. There is no doubt that they can improve the driving—and parking—experience. Obviously, avoiding hitting another car, pedestrian, or bicyclist is the main goal of a backup camera, but they also help us avoid backing over a bicycle left in the driveway by one of our kids, or a dog that decides to run behind the car.
Backup Cameras Will Soon be a Requirement
As of May 2018, all new vehicles weighing at least 10,000 pounds will be required to have a backup camera. According to the NHTSA, these cameras can prevent serious injuries and deaths, especially among small children. Even though—according to Autotrader—only 200 people die in back-over accidents each year, at least 14,000 suffer injuries. Backup cameras can all but eliminate these accidents. A MA car accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by the negligence of another.
“Deaths from back-over crashes thankfully are pretty rare, but they still are tragic,” said the vice president of research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), Jessica Cicchino. “We know that rear cameras can help, but they’re not a silver bullet.”
The Most Effective Vehicle Safety Features Available Today
Backup cameras aren’t the only vehicle safety feature reducing serious injuries and deaths. The following features are touted by the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) as being among the most effective.
- Lane-keep assist
- Electronic stability control
- Adaptive cruise control
- Adaptive headlights
- Collision warning system
- Active park assist
- Drowsiness alert
- 360-degree camera
“The movement toward autonomous vehicles – self-driving cars – has brought high-tech safety features to today’s cars, too,” said USAA’s director of property and casualty loss prevention and safety programs, Jim Clifford. “Many of the groundbreaking advances in the area of car safety have come from these efforts.”