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DOT Proposes Making Backup Camera Mandatory

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A backup camera (credit: CBS)

A backup camera (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) - There’s a push to make rear view cameras mandatory in every new car sold. The proposal by the U.S. Department of Transportation is a response to the hundreds of deadly accidents every year when a driver backs over a pedestrian.

Right now it’s not required for cars and SUVs to have backup cameras installed. They give drivers a pretty good look at what’s directly behind your car. However, driving experts warn that not every piece of technology is fool-proof.

“Just another set of eyes, another view that you can’t get from just turning your head around,” driver Tasha Newman said.

Tiny cameras have become a luxury add-on to new cars and SUVs giving the driver a look at what’s behind the car before backing up. New Volvos at the Rickenbaugh dealership in Denver show the image on a small screen at the fingertips.

The Department of Transportation is hoping the rear view or backup cameras will become a mandatory feature on all new vehicles by 2014 to help prevent accidents.

In 2003 an Adam’s County man accidentally killed his 23-month-old granddaughter when he didn’t see her in the driveway before backing up his truck. It’s the kind of tragedy Newman wants to avoid and says her new SUV came equipped with the feature.

“It’s hard to see children behind the vehicles, especially in these larger cars and I think the backup cameras really help,” Newman said.

But some driving experts warn that the cameras can’t prevent every accident.

“You might look at that picture and see nothing behind you and then a child or a pet might dart behind you,” Wave Dreher with AAA Colorado said.

It’s up to the drivers to be aware of their surroundings.

“Do that shoulder check where you turn and look to see what might be in your blind spots before you back up,” Dreher said.

Newman says the cameras help her see what’s out of sight.

“Safer for me because I’m not going to run over some poor little child and safer for him because I don’t want him to get run over,” she said.

The Transportation Department estimates that installing the cameras will add about $200 to the cost of each new vehicle.

The government estimates nearly 300 people are killed every year by vehicles backing up.

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