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Rear-View Cameras On Cars Could Become Mandatory In the US

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the phase-in-period dept.

Transportation 754

According to the Los Angeles Times, "The federal government wants automakers to install back-up cameras in all new vehicles starting in late 2014. The plan, announced Friday, received a strong endorsement from insurance industry and other analysts and is likely to get some level of support from car manufacturers. ... The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that, on average, 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur each year as a result of back-over crashes. The agency said children and the elderly were the most common victims. About 44% of the fatalities in such accidents are children and 33% are people over 70, it said. NHTSA said its proposal was designed to keep drivers from running over pedestrians who might be crossing behind their vehicles. It could also prevent parking-lot bumper thumpers. The camera systems show motorists what's behind them via a video display on the dashboard. They typically feature a bell or alarm that alerts the driver if an object is within the camera's field of view."

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754 comments

remarkable (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447086)

The Russians used a pencil (3, Insightful)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447292)

Reminds me of the NASA space pen allegory. But what really worries me is putting home theater center in dash. Is it just me or does it seem like little to no consideration is given to how many deaths are caused by driver distraction? Maybe I'm getting old too, but it seems like oncoming headlights have gotten way too bright when I'm driving. Don't even get me started on the giant blinking red billboard that reads "Buckle up for your safety." I wonder how many people look at the sign instead of the road.

It seems like they only make cars safer if it can co-inside with a feature that will raise the price or sell more cars.
 
OK, that's enough cynicism for one post...

Re:The Russians used a pencil (4, Informative)

trout007 (975317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447410)

Of course you know the NASA space pen story is a myth. Fisher invented the pen on their own dime. Both NASA and the Russians used pencils before these pens were available. They went to these pens because broken graphite in zero G and pure oxygen can cause shorts in electronics and burn in a fire. http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp [snopes.com]

Re:The Russians used a pencil (0)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447484)

Yeah, that's why I called it an allegory -- it's more of a lesson in simplicity than anything else. Didn't know about the graphite though. Sort of put's an interesting twist on the lesson though doesn't it.

Re:The Russians used a pencil (1)

ikkonoishi (674762) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447564)

Meanwhile Bic is an international company that makes millions of dollars a year selling pens.

Super (2, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447090)

More Federal Government encroachment into our lives. Will they now ban all existing cars so we have to buy shiny new ones? "for the kids" of course.

Re:Super (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447124)

After this..mandate a camera in front and maybe one in the car.

Then, once cameras are everywhere, how about a little storage of the videos.

This coupled with the mandatory GPS units, etc would be just great for the insurance industry, and the govt...anyone that would like to see/monitor your driving habits.

Re:Super (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447168)

We still wouldn't be safe. What if you're carrying something dangerous in your car?

Automated enhanced pat-downs!

Re:Super (1)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447492)

Or... what if you're driving and you happen to look at what's being recorded by the cameras? You'll have to make sure all cars have access to a data network so the footage can be securely uploaded to a government inspection station. The operator on the other end will tell you when to stop backing up. Of course, they will make sure to not keep any of the recordings.

Re:Super (1)

windcask (1795642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447404)

Is this strictly a wired effort, or will the signal from the camera be broadcast by some means (or perhaps even recorded)? Is it possible that someone could use these cameras for a purpose other than for what they were intended? Could a suspicious husband view the camera's archive to see where the wife has been all day? Could law enforcement hijack these cameras for their own purposes?

you will need alot of HDD space to store raw vide (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447570)

you will need alot of HDD space to store raw video.

Re:Super (2)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447416)

good all the times i see cops speeding, running stop signs etc. w/o a reason beside one u`d use will be caught

admit it: this would help (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447504)

We can add a driver footwell camera to resolve "unintended acceleration" claims.

We can add a view from near to passenger side sun visor toward the driver. This would document drowsy and distracted drivers.

We could use the GPS to report people who don't signal.

We could offer a button to report a bad driver. Something like wireless MAC sniffing would allow police to know which records to look at.

Re:Super (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447142)

I agree...

I do not like the idea of having them mandated, though to be honest if you have driven a car with one they are extremely useful.

Re:Super (2)

KronosReaver (932860) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447424)

Extremely useful if you are bright enough to understand that the camera is there to supplement your own field of vision not replace it.

The other 90% of the population will use the camera as a replacement for looking at everything ELSE behind them and more importantly what is not directly behind them but will be in the next few seconds.

Also consider the increase to the base cost of every new car sold. It may be a small percentage, but with so many Americans already having a difficult time affording the transportation that they need to get to work, or to take kids to school etc... government should be working towards better enabling citizens to be productive rather than making things more difficult.

As a "Safety Feature" there are plenty of other things the government could impose on people that would be far more effective at addressing any of the many more widespread diving safety issues.

It does kind of make you wonder though, how many politicians and officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have a financial interest in companies or patents that deal with back-up cameras.

Re:Super (5, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447522)

What I want is radar or sonar with a HUD on my windshield that shows me a 2D representation of everything around me relative to my location. If there's a kid behind the car, it would show up as a blob behind the vehicle. If there's a car in your blind spot, it would show up as a blob off the back corner of your car. And so on. Such a system, unlike a camera, would make normal driving safer instead of just focusing on a single (and relatively rare) aspect of driving. The only hard part is deciding what is ground clutter and what is something important.

Re:Super (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447146)

TFA says nothing about making it a mandatory retrofit. Actually, it says nothing about old cars - the only requirement is a four-year phase-in of backup cameras on new cars, something I personally have no problem with.

Re:Super (0)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447216)

And government programs never grow.

Re:Super (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447266)

Screw it, just go ahead and put 360 degree wrap around cameras in all the cars, dump the data to Google, exhume George Orwell, prop him up in front of the Capitol Building and call it done.

Re:Super (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447398)

Grow up. Lots of cars have these already and they have nothing to do with paranoid fantasies. If you object because of the extra cost this would add to your next new car, fine.

Re:Super (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447206)

Will they now ban all existing cars so we have to buy shiny new ones?

No. About twenty years ago they issued a similar mandate for a brake light at or near the bottom of the back windshield (before that, almost no cars had them). The automakers said fine, give us 6-9 months to integrate it into our designs and manufacturing process, the government said OK and that was that. Probably has helped prevent a lot of rear-end collisions, especially on the highway when cars stop suddenly for an obstruction. At any rate, clearly a good bang for the buck. The older cars w/o the extra light were grandfathered and have gradually disappeared from the road.

Re:Super (-1, Troll)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447252)

That was a different time, and i don't see it being as friendly this time. Government is way out of control now. Also, those cars have not disappeared. i see them every day.

Re:Super (3, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447306)

Off the Lithium again?

Re:Super (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447280)

Probably has helped prevent a lot of rear-end collisions, especially on the highway when cars stop suddenly for an obstruction.

Why? Do rear-view window breaklights alert the drivers behind you better, or somehow enable them to slow more quickly?

Re:Super (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447358)

In many cases, they are visible to drivers behind the car that is immediately behind you; this works against the tendency for pile-ups (of course, if these idiots would use an appropriate following distance, they'd be even better off, but city driving appears to make people really, really stupid.)

Re:Super (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447394)

They are easier to distinguish between the brake lights coming on and just the rear headlights on at night.

Re:Super (4, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447418)

The taillights will be lit whenever the headlights are lit. These can look exactly the same as older brake lights, except for being slightly dimmer. The additional brake light makes it easier to see the difference.

Re:Super (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447448)

The brake light on the right side of the vehicle is nearly useless unless the vehicle is in the lane to your left because it isn't really in front of you when you're in the driver's seat. Thus, with traditional twin tail lights, you had only a single brake light filament standing between you and a wreck. The center brake light fixtures, by contrast, typically have multiple bulbs (or are LED-based, which are even more reliable), which means you now have typically four filaments standing between you and a wreck. They make driving a lot safer.

Re:Super (4, Insightful)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447478)

> Why? Do rear-view window brakelights alert the drivers behind you better...

Yes, they do. In particular, the so-called "cyclops" does not come on with the headlights, only with the brakes, with the result that "car ahead has lights on" and "car ahead is braking" give different configurations of lights, not just different brightnesses. The change in configuration is more attention-grabbing than just brightening an already-existing light configuration.

Re:Super (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447498)

Why? Do rear-view window breaklights alert the drivers behind you better, or somehow enable them to slow more quickly?

The former. Especially at night in bad weather, it was sometimes hard to distinguish regular taillights from brakelights, which are in basically the same position only brighter. It's easier to pick up on a new configuration rather than a mere difference in intensity. They do seem to be cost-effective (according to this study [nhtsa.gov] ).

That's the real question here (2)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447420)

The government should very well be allowed to mandate safety devices in cars. They help save lives often without a lot of cost. It also doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can require a feature on new cars and then slowly as wear and tear takes its natural course nearly all cars will have the feature. So the real questions are:

1) What is it going to cost in a new car to implement? Real cost, not bullshit cost. How much will it actually raise the price for the consumer?

2) What kinds of savings does it generate in terms of lives, injuries, and property damage? That will be more of an estimate of course but you can still do some studies to determine it fairly accurately.

Now for these particular devices I don't know, I've done zero research so I'm in no position to say if they are worth it or not. However it is silly to suggest that the government shouldn't be able to introduce new safety standards, or that it would require getting all new cars. All that needs to be done is a good cost/benefit analysis of the idea. If it turns out to be worth the cost, then it can be required for new cars.

Re:Super (4, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447544)

It is silly to compare the two. For one is the scope, how much does adding a few lights cost? Not much at all. What does adding in cameras, adding in LCD screens, adding in extra hardware to process it, etc. cost? A shitload more money. Secondly, you seem to have made the incorrect assumption that somehow car manufacturers don't add safety features when pressured by consumers. They do. All extra government regulation does it add in big bucks for a handful of "approved" suppliers while eliminating the competition in most cases.

And as for the "bang for your buck" this is a pretty insignificant issue. Yes, 292 people lost per year to these things is tragic but it doesn't require massive costs. As for pedestrians, simply get away from cars that are backing up. It isn't that hard to see that a car is moving backwards and then move outside of its path. And what all does it add? We can't say that 292 people weren't seen by the driver had the driver been fully aware and the pedestrians using some basic common sense so we can't even eliminate that statistic. It is more government regulation with little to no true upside, will result in people relying on cameras or alarms rather than actually paying attention all the while we lose freedoms and money out of our pockets in both initial and maintenance costs, not to mention the potential for abuse.

Re:Super (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447562)

1) A friend of mine has these on his prius-- It's nice. I think people are not 100% more likely to look at the screen than they are to look out the rear window now. There might be a rise of people looking at the screen who back out in front of a car and create T-Bone accidents. Sort of like the red light cameras that reduce T-Bone collisions but increase rear end collisions. It's a trade off.

2) I think the audio alert if something is back there is a pure win-- if the people pay attention to it. Again, if they are upset, in a hurry, etc. some will keep backing up and not realize for a few seconds that the alarm is going. So many beepings and boopings in cars these days.

3) The cost will be yet another $100 added on to our cars. I'm not sure if they noticed but wages are stagnant or declining for 80% of the population. This is just one more "straw". Perhaps they could require them on all cars that cost $25k and up. That way poor people would have an option for a cheaper car.

4) The 3rd light was very effective... when it was unusual. Less effective as it became more common. I expect the cameras will vary in effectiveness (but also distraction) the longer the owners have them.

Re:Super (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447576)

The first time I saw a car with a third brakelight, I almost rear ended it because the light distracted me while I was trying to figure out what it was!

Re:Super (2)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447218)

I'm not quite following this story. Could make a car analogy so I can understand?

Re:Super (4, Informative)

bieber (998013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447222)

This is nothing new...the federal government has been mandating safety features in cars for decades. Once seatbelts became available, they were mandated. Same deal for airbags. Now backup cameras are available, they're dirt cheap (relative to the cost of a new automobile, anyways), and they have the potential to save a lot of lives, not to mention property damage. And no, they won't ban all existing cars, just like they haven't banned cars from before the advent of seatbelts or airbags.

Sorry, I know you really wanted to uncover some vast conspiracy between the government and the auto manufacturers, but this is just business as usual...

Re:Super (1)

FullBandwidth (1445095) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447258)

Yeah I'm going to have to side with "encroachment" this time. You can dramatically increase your safety in a parking lot simply by either backing into a space or pulling through two adjacent spaces when available. That way when you exit, you're going forward and have maximum visibility. When you approach the space to enter it (either backwards or pulling through) you again have much better visibility and can assess the presence of obstacles such as children and the elderly. Seems like better driving practices could cut that 292/18K number down with no bogus technology injection.

Re:Super (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447260)

I think the rear-view camera is quite good at preventing certain kinds of accidents, although I'm still pretty paranoid about backing out of my driveway in town for fear of running down some poor tyke who's not being cautious enough. The problem is that *just* looking at the camera isn't enough. I don't know about mandating these things, but they definitely do make a difference.

Re:Super (5, Informative)

Goetterdaemmerung (140496) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447502)

Why not simply mandate minimum rear visibility standards? Style has shrunk rear and side windows in many new cars. Sit in a car from the 90's or earlier and there is a huge improvement in rear visibility.

Re:Super (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447538)

Booth was a patriot

You have made an excellent argument against the supposed virtue of patriotism, and I applaud you for it.

Not quite far enough... (4, Insightful)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447098)

292 fatalities a year in a country of 300+ million, and they want to legislate mandatory backup cameras...

If you legislate everyone be strapped to a medical exercise device and fed a perfectly balanced diet through a tube, everyone would be almost perfectly safe.

Re:Not quite far enough... (1)

Aquitaine (102097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447180)

Of course it's absurd. Just like a lot of the stuff that car companies are forced to do. It's tough, though, because in some cases, government mandates have resulted in improvements to safety and efficiency (in the technology, not in the political process) but this is a win-win on the bureaucratic side. The pols love it because they can say they protected your children, and the car companies love it because the requirements apply to everyone. Imagine if you made a widget and suddenly you had to add a $200 part (sorry, a $100 part with a $100 margin) to that widget, but so did everybody else in the widget business. Free money.

It's just a question of degrees though. When the government came in and mandated a small thing like seatbelts, they were (presumably) saving more than 200 lives a year, and not at a cost of $200/car. But there's no reason for anyone involved in this decision-making process to stop there.

Re:Not quite far enough... (0)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447284)

No shit. Will these cameras make it so people don't stomp the accelerator when they quickly back out?

I'd bet the camera wouldn't help here, and I have no doubt that people backing over people (not just kids) in the grocery parking lot is 99% of the cause for these. Dipshit puts his vehicle in reverse and immediately hits the accelerator, just as someone steps out...

People, there is a fucking reason why there is only one reverse gear. Go slow.

Cheap, good. It's called progress... (2)

patniemeyer (444913) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447302)

It will probably end up adding $20 to the cost of an automobile costing tens of thousands, make the world a safer place, reduce nuisance collisions, make the next generation of drivers able to assume that they will be there where they expect them (no surprises)...

How much did it cost to add dual circuit brakes to every car? How many deaths due to outright break failure per year would there be otherwise... I'd bet fewer than the back-overs.

And maybe you'd like to save a few bucks and not have seat belts in your car too?

We're all in this together. It's called progress... Things advance to the point where a majority of us agree that that will be the new normal and we spec it out and move on. You'll get the benefits whether you like them or not.

Pat

Re:Cheap, good. It's called progress... (1)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447520)

I don't know, maybe you can get an LCD screen and camera and associated circuitry, etc., for $20 in very large quantities, but that seems like an awfully low estimate. If you could, OLPC would sure like to know, huh? How much will it really cost, and how much will it add to basic models that lower income people may be buying? Will it be considered a device necessary to pass safety inspections, meaning if it breaks, you are obliged to repair it? Probably more costly to repair than replacing a taillight.

I'd think that stricter tests before allowing people to obtain licenses, along with periodic reevaluation of driving skills could do more to lessen accidents and injuries than throwing technology at one particular issue.

Re:Not quite far enough... (1)

Corwin (92151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447310)

I couldn't agree more.

Re:Not quite far enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447464)

Everyone should wear crash helmets when driving.
Think of the lives saved.
Won't you think of the children?

Drivers are the real problem (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447108)

Ban them, and no more problem.

blah.

Re:Drivers are the real problem (1)

I WILL KICK YOUR ASS (263791) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447298)

If I ever meet you I will kick your ass

Re:Drivers are the real problem (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447432)

Okay. How do you stop stupid children or people who run behind cars while people are backing up? Well fuck. I'm sure this would be interesting in you know in Canada. Because they'd be illegal in every province to have, unless they fall under very strict guidelines.

Re:Drivers are the real problem (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447476)

This isn't a problem with a properly strapped down child. And adults who walk behind cars would be banned. We'd probably ban the cars too.

stupidity (2)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447128)

You cannot "outlaw" stupidity. Why not take it to the next level and put everyone in inflatable suits when they drive, pack them in egg cartons. If people would take more responsibility, they wouldn't be backing over the family dog, a skateboard, fire hydrants or their kids. You know what will happen if/when they put this into play. The first person that hits something while backing up will have a hoard of lawyers knocking down their door to file a class action lawsuit.

Re:stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447518)

Ah, yes -- the libertarian reductio ad assholum argument. How freaking quaint.

So we're not supposed to use simple, cost effective technology to save lives? Why not repeal laws requiring air bags, seat belts, safety glass, tail lights, turn signals, etc.? After all, you can't outlaw stupidity, so why not let everyone compete for the Darwin Award and off themselves without interference?

Oh, wait -- did you say something about not wanting your kids or parents or dog being run over by a neighbor? Too bad. That would require some absurd trampling of your right to, hell, I don't even know what you're trying to protect. Can't have that.

I will also point out that in my experience the people who scream the loudest about such laws are the ones who run for the nearest fire-breathing lawyer when they're wronged or they merely find themselves with a chance to sue someone rich.

How much do you want to bet... (4, Insightful)

Inf0phreak (627499) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447132)

... that a company that manufactures cameras is on a lobbying spending spree?

Re:How much do you want to bet... (1)

Delarth799 (1839672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447308)

I would bet you the last car on earth without a backup camera

Re:How much do you want to bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447378)

More like a group of car manufacturers that can charge $400 for a cheap camera

Seems kinda stupid (2)

MBCook (132727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447136)

Seems kinda stupid to me. Car makers overcharge for the things already. Consumer Reports just did some article about how big the blind spot in cars is and depending on model and driver height it varies between 6 and 150+ feet (for spotting a toddler).

So how about either mandating a better view out the back of the car, or only requiring then on cars where the blindspot is over 15 feet for an average height person?

Better ideas for cutting down on deaths: bigger bumpers, lower speed limit (like 45), tougher driving tests, taking away licenses more aggressively, mandating disc brakes (probably more effective at safety), or just some public safety commercial. Those would probably all be more effective at saving lives.

Re:Seems kinda stupid (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447224)

Seems kinda stupid to me. Car makers overcharge for the things already. Consumer Reports just did some article about how big the blind spot in cars is and depending on model and driver height it varies between 6 and 150+ feet (for spotting a toddler).

So how about either mandating a better view out the back of the car, or only requiring then on cars where the blindspot is over 15 feet for an average height person?

Better ideas for cutting down on deaths: bigger bumpers, lower speed limit (like 45), tougher driving tests, taking away licenses more aggressively, mandating disc brakes (probably more effective at safety), or just some public safety commercial. Those would probably all be more effective at saving lives.

These are low speed accidents so the "better ideas" you propose won't help here. Mandating better field of view only gets you so far if a) people aren't looking, and b) someone who wasn't there when you looked walks out behind you.

The problem is that neither infants or oldies get out of the way if they realize they are in danger, and the oldies only need to be knocked (or scared) off balance and a broken bone can turn fatal. While I think that regular parking sensors can alert drivers just fine, perhaps the push for video based systems is so they can be used in court later or by insurance companies as evidence.

Re:Seems kinda stupid (1)

Jose (15075) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447236)

...Better ideas for cutting down on deaths: bigger bumpers, lower speed limit (like 45), tougher driving tests, taking away licenses more aggressively, mandating disc brakes...

I'm with ya on most of this...but yikes dude. If you need a speed limit of 45 when in REVERSE, I think you may be doing something wrong...

Re:Seems kinda stupid (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447500)

If you need a speed limit of 45 when in REVERSE, I think you may be doing something wrong...

I believe most electric cars don't have a gearbox, so presumably they can go just as fast in reverse as forward, until aerodynamics stop them. So programming them to not go 80mph in reverse would probably be a good idea.

Re:Seems kinda stupid (1)

brusk (135896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447372)

Seems kinda stupid to me. Car makers overcharge for the things already.

They presumably won't overcharge for them anymore once they're mandatory. Formerly premium features like airbags, anti-lock brakes, and traction control have all come way down in price once they became widespread, both because of economies of scale and because manufacturers can no longer divide the market the way they did before (of course they'll continue to do it with other goodies like heated seats and built-in GPS).

Re:Seems kinda stupid (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447536)

actully speed limits cause more deaths
as the physco who want to go 100 in residential wont be stopping for some stupid law
and those who r tired/ distracted will go at the speed their conformable with rather then if the person behind them is a little to close to comfort and wants them to go as the little voice in their heads saying "eh u can go 5 miles above the speed limit, and this guy clearly has somewhere to go"

0.0001164 % (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447138)

"there are 250,844,644 registered passenger vehicles in the US"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States [wikipedia.org]

Backup cameras are becoming common in the fleet anyway. Let's see what that actually does to the incredibly few problems first maybe? It's not like there aren't actually pressing issues to deal with right now.

Great idea, but shouldn't be mandatory (1)

abhi_beckert (785219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447144)

I've spent a lot of time driving a car with one of these cameras, and they're excellent, and relatively inexpensive. But they shouldn't be mandatory! Cars are already too complicated.

Already There (2, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447158)

"proposal was designed to keep drivers from running over pedestrians who might be crossing behind their vehicles"

Its called a rear-view mirror.

Unless its a toddler or a VERY short person, having an image on your dashboard, or to your top will make no difference to whether you can see them or not. If your kid is small enough such that someone reversing his car can't see him - then s/he probably shouldn't be out on their own.

Re:Already There (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447340)

If your kid is small enough such that someone reversing his car can't see him - then s/he probably shouldn't be out on their own.

When was the last time blaming the parent was acceptable? If someone drive over his toddler, the car is clearly at fault. Music, television, video games, the Internet, the parent is never responsible of anything because he is also a voter.

Re:Already There (1)

monkyyy (1901940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447568)

also they can open doors and tend to go tho a "NO!!!!" stage where the parent has to be faster then them to keep them safe

Re:Already There (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447452)

Its called a rear-view mirror.

It doesn't help matters that rear windows seem to get smaller and smaller each year. New cars have terrible visibility in the name of style.

Instead of an expensive technological solution, why not simply mandate rear visibility standards?

Re:Already There (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447578)

Its called a rear-view mirror.

Actually, it's called turning your head and looking back over your shoulder. Way, WAY back when, my driver ed teacher said he'd fail us if we tried to just use the mirror.

Granted, depending on its position, a camera will probably see things lower than the driver's line of sight and a backup sensor would be even more helpful.

Already in Japan. (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447170)

There are a lot of these in Japan, but they're not mandatory; they're part of an upgrade package and use the screen that people use for the navigational GPS system. They're especially nice for backing up at night since the area behind you is illuminated and there's a grid overlaid on the view that adjusts itself when you move the steering wheel -- that way, you can see where your car is going a lot easier than you can by leaning out the window.

On the other hand, most people I know who have this camera don't seem to use it; they just use their rearview mirrors or just look back normally.

I really don't think that making them mandatory will help all that much; it'll just raise car prices and many people will probably ignore them in favor of looking around like they always have (or haven't). And aren't we trying to get people to STOP looking at screens while driving?

Re:Already in Japan. (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447314)

If it's mandatory though, would that shut out third-party or smartphone based GPS systems/entertainment systems? It seem like there is some angle here but I can't be sure.

Field of view, you say? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447184)

They typically feature a bell or alarm that alerts the driver if an object is within the camera's field of view.

When, exactly, is NO object in the cameras field of view?

Ultrasonic parking sensors should work fine. (4, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447188)

Cameras aren't necessary - mildly enhancing the standard ultrasonic parking sensors would address this problem for a fraction of the cost.

Re:Ultrasonic parking sensors should work fine. (1)

lilfields (961485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447214)

"for a fraction of the cost." You haven't met the Federal Government have you?

Re:Ultrasonic parking sensors should work fine. (1)

Goetterdaemmerung (140496) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447528)

I don't believe I've ever been in a car with the so-called "standard" ultrasonic parking sensors. I have been in a car with a backup camera and I was somewhat scared when the owner *only* used the camera to back up.

Laws (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447196)

I would have expected the usual government reaction to a statistic like this:

About 44% of the fatalities in such accidents are children and 33% are people over 70

Would be to ban children and the over 70s

Leads to Lazy leads to Accidents (1)

mlawrence (1094477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447210)

People are going to stop walking around their car and glancing at their vehicles, choosing instead to trust the technology. It won't be long until a child's toy, then a beloved pet, then even a child gets crushed under a wheel, out of sight of the cameras. :(

Re:Leads to Lazy leads to Accidents (1)

Amorymeltzer (1213818) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447550)

Clearly solvable by mandating more cameras.

Cagers..... (1)

stovicek (1768794) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447228)

You don't see motorcyclists with this kind of problem.

Re:Cagers..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447262)

I try to pretend I don't see motorcycles even if I know they're there.

Re:Cagers..... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447268)

No. You just see that 1/6 of all automobile/motorcycle fatalities are motorcycle riders. I don't have an exact # on the percentage of vehicles that are bikes, but I guarantee it is a hell of a lot less than 1/6. Motorcycles and SUVs should be banned from public roads.

Re:Cagers..... (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447318)

There's a huge difference between motorcycles and SUVs though. Motorcycle drivers are for the most part, only a threat to themselves. If they want to risk it, it's their choice, the upside of motorcycles is that they are very fuel efficent. SUVs on the other hand are a threat to not only themselves but everyone else on the road and use fuel like it was going out of style. I'm all with you on the SUV ban, but not the motorcycle one.

False sense of security (5, Insightful)

echucker (570962) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447250)

I watched my sister-in-law in a vehicle with a camera shortly after she bought it. She couldn't back up to save her ass, since she spent more time looking at the camera's feed then actually turning her head to look behind her. Took her three tries to back out of our neighbor's crowded driveway with no success. Then her sister's husband did it first try. He just looked out of the damned window. Newsflash - the camera has a limited field of view. The difference is that if you turn your head to look, you've probably got a better chance to see what may be outside of the camera angle, or moving into it.

Re:False sense of security (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447354)

It's not the camera. The part "sister-in-law" is a clue as to why there was a problem.

ah, anecdotes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447470)

Newsflash: maybe your sister-in-law isn't very bright either.

Re:False sense of security (3, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447486)

Newsflash - the camera has a limited field of view.

Not to mention a 2-dimensional image (depth of field is important when driving) that is of a considerably reduced size compared to reality.

She couldn't back up to save her ass, since she spent more time looking at the camera's feed then actually turning her head to look behind her.

Many drivers will likely start to rely solely on the camera image, instead of using it as an adjunct to a brief walkaround check and the normal "real life" turn-your-head field of view. It may save some lives, but I fear other preventable backup accidents will happen due to overreliance on the camera. In general, I feel that a lot of safety technology, including things like airbags and ABS, lull some drivers into a false sense of security that leads them to be more careless, inattentive, or even reckless. These devices are all well-intentioned, and undoubtedly have saved some lives, but are counterproductive if the most critical part of the vehicle -- the driver -- relies on them to the exclusion of good old-fashioned common sense and care.

Re:False sense of security (0)

asiansteev (991271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447506)

your story is sexist.

Already solved it over 50 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447282)

What's wrong with the old passive back-up camera, commonly known as "rear view mirror"???

And yet with all this technology... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447296)

In an age where reverse parking sensors, backup cameras, mirrors and everyone else in and outside of the car yelling at you to stop; I still have guys at my body shop back into cars that were parked in the same spot all day. Also had my brother back a Maserati into a box truck the following evening.

Cost Benefit (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447332)

What I would like to see is what the total cost of this program is and how many lives will it save? If the answers are to be found in the article, I wouldn't know... it is Slashdotted.

federal govt and human behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447348)

292 fatalities and 18000 injuries a year. But how many of those drivers were drunk, stoned, decrepit or otherwise unfit to drive a vehicle? Would the rear-view or bell actually have mattered in those cases?

In fact, I know that the people who build such systems have lobbied congress greatly to make it mandatory. If they were to provide the actual studies of human behavior, it would reveal that these systems actually make drivers MORE careless. They assume that the bell will work. They assume that if the video is clear, they are clear to backup. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But you will never see those statistics or studies. Because the people who build the systems make too much money. Just like you never see any scientific studies regarding the impact of cell-phone use on the ability to drive, or real statistics on the number of accidents by people using "hands-free" phone systems. Grease the right pockets and you can have the federal overlords make your product mandatory across the US too.

Tailgating and bird-watching (4, Interesting)

Daltorak (122403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447366)

I can think of one good use for rear-view cameras... dealing with tailgaters! Imagine being able to record some video of some primo dickbag in his BMW X5, angrily following five feet behind you at 50mph because you aren't willing to go significantly above the speed limit for him. The computer's technology can measure how far away the other car is and overlay it on the screen. Then, hit a button on your dashboard, it sends the video (with a capture of his license plate, if he's got one) off to the police and they mail him a ticket. If enough people catch the same person doing it, fuck'im, take his license away and force him to take the bus.

On a more cheerful note, there is another use that Jeremy Clarkson recently suggested on Top Gear -- looking at pretty girls in the car behind you while sitting at a traffic light. Lech-o-matic!

Re:Tailgating and bird-watching (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447392)

So what you're saying is, you're a giant asshole.

Rear view backup cameras are useful (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447376)

I have a rear-view backup camera in my car and I love it. It's not always a substitute for turning your head back and looking since it's difficult to judge distance since it's a very wide angle camera. It's good for seeing pedestrians and is great for parallel parking though since I see my own bumper. I also find it useful since as I get older it gets harder to turn my head back when backing up. Since it's so wide angle it also lets me see if there's any oncoming traffic I need to worry about as well.

Just fix the fucking drivers (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447384)

If we just made sure people got in a car to drive, instead of play games, read, write, talk on the phone, do work, eat, sleep, piss, shit, and ever other thing people do instead of paying attention that may actually work.

America, no one is responsible for their own actions. Please check your personal liberty and responsibility at the door. Thank you.

Please Mr. Gov't protect me from myself! (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447406)

So glad the priorities are all about rear view cameras and TV commercial volume - that's EXACTLY what our Government should spend its time working on! Meanwhile, in the 10 seconds it took to type this entry, our wonderful Government blew another $412,227 in deficit spending...

STOP (5, Insightful)

TheUnknownOne (810624) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447458)

Stop mandating this crap. I don't want traction control in my car, I don't want more screens, I don't want want my car to drive itself, and I don't want my car to disable cellphones.

I enjoy driving, and I drive a lot. My car is comfortable, gets good fuel economy (45-48MPG), has a manual transmission and drives like a car (not a golf cart). There are no screens (aside from the 1"x2" LCD clock and Odometer) and my speedometer and odometer have needles (so you can see how fast you're going out of your peripheral vision (is the needle straight up? I'm good)).

I agree, there are some safety features that should be in all cars... Seat belts, and airbags are important. But back up cameras? 292 fatalities a year. This is insignificant, seeing as how there are about 40,000 automobile fatalities per year, 0.7%? More people likely die from just being poor drivers. Why doesn't the government require better driver education before issuing licenses? Why don't we require retesting at certain ages? (Do you really think that all of the people out there driving in their late 80s drive just as well as they did when they were 19?) I'm betting fixing these problems would save a lot more lives than making us have more crap in our car.

If these cameras are mandatory, will they be included in states "safety" inspections? Will I be required to fix it if it breaks? If I swap out the stereo in my car for a different one, will I be required to reattach the camera?

Fp dIcK (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447460)

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Haven't We Given The Insurance Industry Enough? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447474)

We already passed a health care bill that was nothing more than a massive handout to the insurance industry. Now we are considering mandating backup cameras on the advice of the insurance industry? Notice that of course they didn't say anything about reducing rates for people who have them; more likely the insurance industry will just start raising further the rates of those who don't (and then later calling it a "discount" for those who do).

Yeah, I'm glad to see that the government isn't just looking out for big business... Remind me again how we changed things in 2008?
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