A final rule by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require rear camera system technology in all new light vehicles under 10,000 pounds GVW – including trucks and buses as well – manufactured on or after May 1, 2018. 

The agency added that the rear camera system’s “field of view” must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle and must also meet other requirements including image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation protocols.

“Rear visibility requirements will save lives, and will save many families from the heartache suffered after these tragic incidents occur," noted NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman in a statement. "We’re already recommending this kind of life-saving technology through NCAP [New Car Assessment Program] and encouraging consumers to consider it when buying cars today."

According to NHTSA’s research, on average, there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by “back-over” crashes and the agency has found that children under 5 years old account for 31% of back-over fatalities each year, with adults 70 years of age and older accounting for 26%.

NHTSA pointed out that many vehicle OEMs are already installing rear visibility technology on their own, due to consumer demand. Including vehicles that already have such systems installed, the agency expects that 58 to 69 lives will be saved each year once the entire on-road light vehicle fleet is equipped with rear camera technology outlined in its final rule.