Rearview cameras could become more common in future cars and trucks under rules proposed by the government Friday to address concerns about drivers unintentionally backing over children.
The new requirements from the Transportation Department are intended to improve rear visibility in cars by the 2014 model year. Most carmakers would comply by installing rear-mounted video cameras and in-vehicle displays. The government estimated that video systems would add about $200 to the cost of each new vehicle.
Congress in 2008 set in motion the safety upgrades in response to dozens of accidents in which children were backed over. At issue in particular were blind zones in large sport utility vehicles and pickups.
"There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child playing behind the vehicle," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. He said the changes would "help drivers see into those blind zones directly behind vehicles to make sure it is safe to back up."
Nearly 300 people are killed and 18,000 injured each year because of backovers, according to data kept by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many happen in driveways and parking lots. Nearly half the deaths involve children younger than age 5, and the crashes also affect the elderly.