Feds Want No More Blind Zones for Cars by 2014

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today released a proposal that would require all cars to have “a 180-degree view” of the area around a car. According to NHTSA, the proposed rule was required by Congress as part of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007. Cameron Gulbransen, for whom the act is named, was 2 when he was killed when his father accidentally backed over him in the family’s Long Island, N.Y., driveway in 2002.

The proposal “would expand the required field of view for all passenger cars, pickup trucks, minivans, buses and low-speed vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 10,000 pounds so that drivers can see directly behind the vehicle when the vehicle’s transmission is in reverse,” NHTSA said in a statement this morning. The agency believes that automakers will install rearview cameras and “in-vehicle displays” to meet the new standards.

The proposal also says that implementation would be staggered: 10% of new vehicles must comply by September 2012, 40% by September 2013 and 100% by September 2014.

Of course, adding that kind of equipment will raise the cost of those cars. Today, consumers can add aftermarket cameras for as little as a couple of hundred dollars; built-in cameras run from roughly $400 to as much as $2,000 when it’s part of a built-in navigation system. Some crossovers, starting as low as $25,000, have the feature standard.

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