The designs of automobiles are mostly left up to manufacturers who employ everyone from engineers to artists to sculpt a car into form. But while the aesthetics of a motor vehicle are flexible among those who manufacture them, the function of a car is much more controlled. Consumers have demands that must be met when buying a vehicle and a manufacturer would be unwise to deviate from those expectations. For example, a car must run, be able to accelerate and brake, and be able to turn or no sensible consumer would purchase it.
But regulations and guidelines exist and govern all vehicles, meaning that some things are beyond the control of a manufacturer. An example is the presence of seat belts, which are mandatory in all passenger cars and many larger vehicles in America. Many of these requirements exist for safety reasons and are put into place by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), a government-run agency under the Executive Branch. Right now, manufacturers are busy taking the steps necessary to introduce one of the newest requirements that NHTSA has put forth – the addition rear-view visibility systems, or backup cameras.
Though this new rule was promulgated last year, it will not be in full effect until May of 2018, which means that those designing and assembling vehicles are actively working on the camera systems now. The NHTSA rule applies to all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, including buses and trucks, which will be manufactured on or after May 2018, and makes a rear visibility system necessary. To be compliant, the field of view offered by the backup camera or other system must be 10 feet by 20 feet directly behind the vehicle and must comply with all NHTSA requirements including image quality, lag time, and responsiveness.
Experts agree that backup cameras increase safety and decrease the risk of accidents, a strong argument that support their mandatory inclusion in new vehicles. Without cameras, a vehicle backing up will block a portion of the roadway from a driver’s point of view. That portion, generally below the rear windshield and down to the ground several feet behind the trunk, can make hazards in the roadway unseen to a backing driver and can lead to backover car accidents. Tragically, every year collisions of this nature happen with young, small children who are unaware of the dangers presented by a backing car and who are too small to be seen without the aid of a backup camera.
But like most technologies, there are potential drawbacks from the mandatory inclusion of backover cameras. These systems are expected to increase the price of all new vehicles which may make the purchase of a car prohibitively expensive for some. Those drivers may make do with an older, less safe vehicle instead. Not only will older cars not have the backup camera systems but they may be lacking other newer safety initiative like lane departure warnings, side curtain airbags, and/or automatic braking.
As long as drivers operate cars without backup cameras or as long as they continue to operate a vehicle while distracted, it is an unfortunate reality that backover car accidents will keep happening in Chicago. If you are the victim of one of these incidents or if someone you love was hurt or killed in a crash, make sure you understand your legal options and whether you have a claim for relief.
Often, victims can recover financially against an at-fault driver or against an insurance company if they take appropriate action within a time period specified by law. If you have questions or if you are looking for help, know that a licensed attorney is always standing by at Abels & Annes, P.C. and can be reached toll free at (855) 529-2442. If you prefer, call us locally at (312) 924-7575 or contact us online. However you reach us, we will offer you a free, no-obligation case consultation regarding your accident and your rights, including your right to obtain payment for any injuries you sustained.
Prior Blog Entry:
Study Suggests that Drunk Driving Deaths could be Reduced by 85 Percent with Ignition Interlock Devices, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published October 14, 2015.