Final ruling from NHTSA would save three lives every week*
It is almost three years since the U.S. “Kids and Transportation Safety Act” was passed to prevent accidents while reversing, prompted by consistently high numbers of fatal accidents involving young children. Despite some initial rapid progress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ran into problems when the new regulations were presented in December 2010, which delayed the whole process. An overwhelming number of comments on the regulation prompted NHTSA to extend the comment period by 45 days, until April 18, 2011. The comments received caused NTHSA to review the ruling and conduct some re-tests. The final ruling was set to be published December 31, 2011.
There is a lot at stake. Most important is the potential lives that could be saved once the legislation is enacted, but there are also considerable implications for the industry. For U.S. OEMs, adding a camera-based system to all passenger cars, trucks and multi-purpose vehicles to aid reversing could add as much as another $2.7 billion to costs annually – with most (if not all) of this presumably recovered from customers. For suppliers, it would mean an increase of approximately 12 million rear-view cameras in just the U.S., with other countries expected to follow extending the size of the opportunity. Don’t forget a screen would also facilitate many other safety-enhancing features, with a better user-interface, potentially preventing other types of accidents, too.
As part of the Act, NHTSA must issue a final rule within 36 months of enactment, which means within the next two weeks. Watch this space.
*According to NHTSA the fitment of a rear-view camera could save 146 lives a year. If NTHSA had published the final ruling as proposed the 31 of December [2 January], the mandatory fitment of rear-view aid would not have been delayed by another 57 days, potentially saving 23 lives.