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Rearview Car Cameras Likely Mandated By 2014

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the reflects-poorly-on-drivers dept.

Transportation 652

Hugh Pickens writes "Every year around 17,000 people are injured and over 200 die in backover accidents involving cars, trucks and SUVs. Now the Chicago Tribune reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will send Congress a proposal mandating a rearview camera for all passenger vehicles starting in 2014. 'Adoption of this proposal would significantly reduce fatalities and injuries caused by backover crashes involving children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and other pedestrians,' says NHTSA in its proposal. But the technology won't come cheap. In its study, the NHTSA found that adding a backup camera to a vehicle without an existing visual display screen will probably cost $159 to $203 per vehicle, shrinking to between $58 and $88 for vehicles that already use display screens. Toyota of Albany Sales manager Kelvin Walker says he believes making backup cameras standard on cars made after 2014 is a good idea. 'If you want to get a backup camera with a mirror in it now, it may cost you $700 to $800 as an additional dealer option or you have to purchase a navigation which is about $1,500 to $1,600. So $1,600 compared to $200? You do the math.'"

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652 comments

Winter/mud/etc. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192133)

How does that work with winter, mud and all the other junk that will cover the camera? Do I get a ticket if it's obscured? I suspect the problem isn't lack of cameras but lack of people paying attention while driving (to whit I saw someone reading a book while making a left turn. great).

Re:Winter/mud/etc. (5, Interesting)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192265)

Well you would only have to pay attention the the rear-view cam when backing up. When driving the screen usually show GPS/Media player controls or whatever. I have had a car with a rear cam for a long time, and I never had to wipe mud or junk from it. I do wash my car every now and then, but not too often.

Re:Winter/mud/etc. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192331)

Last week, I borrowed a Honda Odyssey with a backup camera. The back of the vehicle was so coated with winter road garbage that you almost couldn't tell that the vehicle was sky blue. Nevertheless, the picture from the camera was quite good.

Re:Winter/mud/etc. (2, Interesting)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192525)

How does that work with winter, mud and all the other junk that will cover the camera? Do I get a ticket if it's obscured?

I've driven a Prius with a backup camera for three years now. The view is generally good in all conditions. The only real problem is when it rains heavily, you can get a single raindrop hanging from the lens (the lens is tiny) and blocking much of the view.

But then, the rear-view mirror still works.

Re:Winter/mud/etc. (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192603)

I suspect the problem isn't lack of cameras but lack of people paying attention while driving (to whit I saw someone reading a book while making a left turn. great).

What? You want to blame people? You hateful, hateful person! No one is actually responsible for their own actions these days. Silly person...

Christ, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192143)

as if life isn't expensive enough as it is. How about we put this one on the ballot, boys?

Re:Christ, (4, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192395)

Preach!

Math, it really should be mandatory to vote. Google sez we sell about 16 million cars annually. At the minimum price mentioned of $58 per car that works out to $929 million. Now ASSume it cuts that 200 deaths to zero (it won't) and that works out to what per life? Uh huh. For 4.6M per there are a lot more cost effective ways to save lives. Oh, but there are also people injured. Ok, go that math. For over 50K per injury that is still pretty fracking expensive. And I'd bet good money that a fair chunk of that 17,000 didn't get hurt very badly, perhaps a broken bone. Again assuming a rear camera would cut that number to zero, which it won't.

Re:Christ, (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192431)

I agree with future seeing guy who uses "sez" and "ASSume".
I also agree that the 200 people who would potentially be saved per year from this are not worth an extra 58 dollars for every car I purchase from now on.
That is my 58 dollars! WWWWAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!
Sarcasm end...

Re:Christ, (5, Informative)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192535)

Let's put some numbers to it as well. Annual car sales are about 6 million/year in the US. At a cost of $200/vehicle, that's a total incremental cost of $1.2B. That puts the "cost to save a life" at $1.2B/200 = $6 million per life saved, assuming that the backup cameras prevent every single death. I would posit that it's more likely to be half that effective at best, so $12M/live saved.

IMHO, such numbers put this proposal squarely in the same category as proposals to increase the required age/height/weight for children not to sit in booster seats--they result in a huge financial outlay by the public to offset a (statistically-speaking) relatively minor problem. The US sees about 2.4 million deaths per year. Two hundred is 8.3 thousandths of one percent of the death toll.

Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (0, Flamebait)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192145)

I see asswipes doing this all the time

News flash, most times I can't see you when using my mirrors. I'll look behind me in parking lots but idiots like to walk in the street in NYC

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (4, Funny)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192201)

most times I can't see you when using my mirrors. I'll look behind me in parking lots but idiots like to walk in the street in NYC

The article failed to mention that at least 12 pedophiles and 27 terrorist suspects will be saved each year by rear view cameras. Good laws put into action to save the peoples!

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192345)

Stop buying stupidly oversized automobiles. You don't need a truck or a huge SUV to take one person from home to office.

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192393)

Says the guy who isn't handicapped. Stopped driving the VW, started driving the F-150 because I can get in and out. Really, though, what the fuck difference does it make for a 4 mile daily commute? 16 MPG v.s. 40 MPG is pretty fucking trivial. I'm wasting less than a gallon of gasoline, or 8 lbs of CO2 a week, in return for hurting less.

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (0)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192473)

public transport has priority seating.

if you're that badly handicapped that you can't manage public transport, you also would be unable to drive.

my wife is disabled, and last time i checked she fitted just fine into an 88 corolla hatchback.

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (2, Insightful)

s122604 (1018036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192609)

my wife is disabled, and last time i checked she fitted just fine into an 88 corolla hatchback.

last time you checked, oooh zinger

because you know, every handicapped person is handicapped the same way

they are also the same size


arrogant asshat...

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192605)

If you're handicapped it's fair enough to have any vehicle you need. Not want, but need.

But most people driving trucks and SUVs from home to their desk job don't need one. They're just idiots.

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192401)

I've seen a guy get run over in NYC by someone backing up a giant Escalade. Hey NYC assburger drivers: just because your car has a reverse gear doesn't make it legal to go the wrong way down a one way street. The modus operandi of the NYC assburger is to reverse the entire block to try to get a parking space that opened up. Sometimes pedestrians step out into the street and most streets here being only one way, some pedestrians forget to look both ways when crossing. I'd like a mandatory vehicle upgrade that delivers 110 volts directly to your nuts if you reverse for more then 20 yards.

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192491)

maybe put the ignition coil in the driver's seat? ~200 amps cold-start oughtta get the message across.

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192599)

*checks*
*checks again*

I'm fairly sure women lack nuts.

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (3, Informative)

markjhood2003 (779923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192423)

How about turning around and looking behind you before you back up?

The referenced articles all seem to refer to the blind spots that can occur when you depend solely on your mirrors for situational awareness. This is appropriate when you're on the highway, driving at a high rate of speed, and with all the other cars around you going in the same direction.

Presumably, you are not moving forward when you initiate backing up. That means there's plenty of time, and yes, an obligation, to turn around, look over your shoulder, and look directly for obstacles, especially other people, before and during the entire time you're moving backwards.

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (4, Insightful)

chebucto (992517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192555)

And if the person behind you is shorter than the peak of your trunk? Children can and do put themselves right behind cars, and some of them do get killed because of that.

While there may be a way to avoid this by combining a walk around the car before entering the car, with near-constant use of the mirrors from the moment you get in the car to the moment you finish reversing, the plain fact is that it is not easy to know if someone less than 3 feet tall is right behind you. I suspect most drivers have avoided hitting kids while backing up more out of luck than out of assiduous mirror-usage.

I don't often say it, but: think of the children!

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192569)

How about turning around and looking behind you before you back up?

While you're at it, why not get out, walk behind the car and check for the 3 year old that ran out to give daddy a goodbye hug. You're not going to see him over the back seat of the car whether you're looking in the mirror or over the shoulder or whatever. Of course, once you get back in you'll have to repeat the process since the kid might have ran out after you got back in the car.

Or, we could just accept that the gene pool gets a little bit cleaner every time some toddler discovers that he needs to avoid running up to giant noisy vehicles, especially when they're moving.

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192621)

In the stupidly big vehicles lots of people drive these days, the blind spots are huge, even if you turn to look. Kids can easily be there.

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192439)

News flash, most times I can't see you when using my mirrors.

Er, yeah. Which is why you are taught to look over your shoulder when reversing.

Re:Simple, don't walk behind cars backing up (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192449)

i do not want to share a road with you.

simple. if you can't see all around you, don't fucking move until you can!

Captain Obvious says (2)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192147)

When it's requires dealerships will have to add that to the direct competition package along with "takes you places" and "blinkers work." The price will drop accordingly.

Re:Captain Obvious says (4, Informative)

Kohenkatz (1166461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192257)

Most configurations of the Toyota Sienna minivan now have the backup camera standard and the price has not increased significantly from the last model-year that offered it only as an option. This indicates that the price difference in other vehicles is much more of a "convenience charge" than the cost of the system. If it is in every vehicle, there will be no added convenience and therefore nothing to charge for.

Re:Captain Obvious says (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192303)

Meh, I'd much rather someone sold a car without all the extras. Even if you don't have the extra, the added cost of supporting the option of many of the add-ons makes cars cost a lot. I'm sure it's possible to make a $5000 car that meets all safety and emission requirements, but I guess nobody is interested in buying a vehicle. Everyone wants to buy a lifestyle.

Re:Captain Obvious says (2)

Kohenkatz (1166461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192383)

I'm sure it's possible to make a $5000 car that meets all safety and emission requirements,...

Maybe you'd be interested in a Tata Nano [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Captain Obvious says (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192451)

Agreed. Nowadays, such a car makes more sense - kinda like the Original Volkswagens did, except without the National Socialist connotations. A simple, modular, more efficient approach with more user-friendly long-term maintenance in mind would would work wonders for this country. Those of you who believe textbooks are a racket (changing new editions every year etc.) ain't seen nothin' yet compared to the currentauto parts racket.

Go to a local Starbucks with a drive-in and see the disgusting sows, all with ridiculously large SUVs, at least 3 kids each, with integrated TVs. The line of cars in the drive-in is backed around the block, and yet they could just go inside and be served immediately. The SUVs' drivers are all females who are either obese or anorexic. And they're all ordering extra-jumbo caramel Ralph Macchios for themselves and their children.

Re:Captain Obvious says (5, Funny)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192515)

Well, at least the obese ones have an excuse for the over-sized SUV. Ever see a fat person getting out of a smart car? It's like watching a cell divide.

Re:Captain Obvious says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192335)

That's only true for vehicles that already have a graphical display, as mentioned in TFA. Otherwise, this will be a multi-hundred-dollar poor tax for people like me who don't need constant electronic diversion.

I'll just (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192173)

hook up a non-functioning camera to the rear of my Jeep. I can see out the back just fine, and unless they make a waterproof screen to mount on my dashboard, it won't last too long anyway.

Re:I'll just (2)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192183)

You can't see below a certain level without a camera.

Re:I'll just (0)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192225)

And, miraculously, I've never run over a child, Oompa Loompa, penguin, or anything else for that mattter.

Re:I'll just (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192427)

Miraculously, I've never been involved in an accident with a car in 4 years of riding a motorbike. This proves that it is safe to have motorbikes and cars sharing the road :/

What the fuck is your reasoning exactly?

Re:I'll just (2, Insightful)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192247)

But I can see all around the blind spot without one, so if something diappears into it, I'll assume it might be there until I see it re-emerge. solved problem for the last 100 years of driving.

Why? (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192215)

This, as with all car safety laws, isn't a retrofit law. They aren't saying "You have to go buy this and put it on all cars out there." They are saying (or rather considering saying) "All cars made from now on must include this feature."

Same shit as passive safety systems, window mounted stop lights, seatbelts and so on. You needn't retrofit them on something that didn't have them, manufacturers just have to include them on new vehicles.

My phone has a camera (2)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192191)

And every time I'm on the expressway, I wish I had a camera for my blind spots. When the government mandates cameras they will probably be like $200 to meet the standards. I'm not sure why automakers didn't think to add the cameras as a cool cheap safety feature. And the ones that do are only on when you are in reverse, so they don't help you with blind spots.

Re:My phone has a camera (5, Informative)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192275)

> And every time I'm on the expressway, I wish I had a camera for my blind spots.

You're doing it wrong. Seriously, when you mirrors are _properly_ configured in a car you should NOT have ANY blind spots.

Angle your mirrors out more. You should be able to track a car in your rearview mirror, to your side mirror, to the right/left WITHOUT moving your head.

Most people "toe in" their mirrors WAY too much, which means they need to move forward to see "more." This is inefficient, lazy, and just bad (as in accident prone.)

Re:My phone has a camera (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192385)

I second this. A lot of people bring their mirrors in until they can see the sides of their own car -- this is effectively useless and the complete opposite of what you want to do. As soon as someone slapped me up side the head and told me to adjust my mirrors properly a whole new world opened up. Not only do I not have a blind spot I actually recalibrate my mirrors (after the wife cranks 'em in) by making sure that as the cars next to me transition from the rear-view to side-view to the out-the-window-view I can see them in both the before and after views simultaneously.

Second most useful thing I've ever learned...

Re:My phone has a camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192281)

extra mirror that snaps right onto your main mirror does the blind spot coverage job just fine. and costs only $5.

Re:My phone has a camera (1)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192563)

Where did you buy this? What is it called?

Re:My phone has a camera (1)

englishknnigits (1568303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192419)

$200 is $200. Maybe I want to have a new video card instead of a useless camera on my car. Why do I have to buy one because you want one? How about if you want one, YOU buy one and leave me the hell alone.

Why? (1)

ninsega (2574265) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192203)

Rearview car camera was unable to prevent a minivan from backing into my car.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192471)

Mini van = Mommy Mobile...

Rearview cameras is good. (4, Insightful)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192209)

First I was tempted to make a joke, something connecting rear- view and up-skirt with car analogy. But I won't do that, and instead say that, here in Japan rear view cameras has been fairly standard for a long time. My 11 year old car came with one that recently broke. And it is one of those things you don't miss until you had one and it is gone. We live in a neighborhood with lots of kids running around and playing on the small streets between the houses. And with the rear view camera I could be absolutely sure there were no toddler on a three wheeler behind my car when backing out.

Re:Rearview cameras is good. (4, Interesting)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192283)

The other thing, is that the factory installed ones are f*cking awesome for parallel parking. Mine displays an overlaid range indicator on the display. Anyone, even a valet not familliar with the car, can back it up to within a couple of inches of a bumper or car behind it. I ordered the option on a whim, but I'll never get another one without it.

WTF (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192213)

Don't people look over their shoulders and use their mirrors when they back up anymore? It's not that hard and has worked fine most of the time for over a century. If some people don't know how to back up properly, then why the hell are they allowed to drive?

Cameras should be an optional luxury feature, not a mandated system. Besides, what if the camera breaks/lens gets dirty?

Re:WTF (1, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192403)

They barely look out the front window. Seriously, most people should not be allowed to pilot a car. It's a deadly projectile and yet people drive like they're in a video game.

Re:WTF (1)

Golgafrinchan (777313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192551)

They barely look out the front window. Seriously, most people should not be allowed to pilot a car. It's a deadly projectile and yet people drive like they're in a video game.

If they drive like they're playing Carmageddon, that's a serious problem.

However, if they drive like they're playing Super Mario Kart... no problem! Except for when you drop a banana peel. That could really screw over a pedestrian walking behind you.

That's the problem (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192463)

Even if you're looking out the back window, you cannot see everything behind you.

Imagine a small child on a tricycle right behind your back bumper -- it doesn't matter if you're a great driver or a terrible one, you simply won't see the child without a rear camera.

protecting the stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192219)

Again we have to have legislation. If someone doesn't see a car is in reverse, oh well. If someone darts behind the car on a bike or something I don't see how a camera will help.

I do see high cost-of-ownership with all the electronics.

Will it be mandated that it works all the time? What if it breaks and the owner chooses to not repair it? It's not like brakes which are necessary. Well, necessary if one wants to stop.

Will the DOTs be checking this on annual inspections?

Re:protecting the stupid (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192271)

Yes, it will be mandated that it works all the time and yes it will be checked as part of the annual inspection. And like all the other safety features it will be one more thing that will make a car that is in a minor accident too expensive to repair so that over time it will become more and more difficult for the poor to find affordable transportation except for that provided by the government to travel to government approved locations.

Surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192359)

I agree with all of your points and would like to add that the next thing would be to allow DHS to "tap into" your rear view camera at any time and see what's behind you.

What. (2, Insightful)

UltimaBuddy (2566017) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192227)

How did all of these accidents happen?
Would a camera have prevented it?
Or will we find new and exciting ways to get ourselves run over because we can't be bothered by our surroundings?

We should consider reducing the amount of silly, wasteful and frivolous laws on the books, before we add to the pile.

I think that front cover of this weeks' The Economist sums up my feelings quite well [economist.com] .

Re:What. (1)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192323)

Yep. How lovely that our government is finding more ways to look out for us (at our expense, mind you), when people are hurting financially, and the feds are spending money at a rate that will bankrupt the next generation.

I'm obviously not opposed to the idea of equipping cars with safety features, but it just seems like a bad time to introduce more auto regulations that will make things less affordable for people (you know, the recession and all?). In a few years time, the cost will drop to ridiculously low levels to install these, and they'll become standardized anyhow. Why not just wait for tech and market forces to push this into place naturally? Those that really want to be extra safe can purchase a vehicle with these options.

And if any of you say "But think of the children!", I'm seriously going to laugh at you for being so damned hypocritical.

Re:What. (2)

SirWinston (54399) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192591)

> How did all of these accidents happen?

I'm willing to bet almost all involve old people whose vision and concentration are past their prime, young people without much experience, and people who are very distracted. I was in the car with my 70+ year old great-aunt when she backed directly into a dumpster--and she was in a minivan with a camera system. How can you not see a gigantic dumpster? You can't prevent accidents like that, period.

Seriously, 200 deaths a year is statistically insignificant when hundreds of millions use the roadways. Mandating that everyone who buys a car from now on will have to pay another $200 for a camera system, in order to prevent a statistically insignificant number of deaths which are probably largely attributed to age or inexperience, is a stupid waste of resources. Over 15 million new vehicles are sold every year in the U.S.--this is 3 BILLION DOLLARS WASTED every year if we force camera systems to be installed. Don't you think people can find something better to do with $3 billion of resources yearly?

No wonder our economy is in the crapper--I wonder what the total dollar amount wasted each year through needless government mandates is? Fucking nanny state bullshit.

More injuries (5, Insightful)

Kohenkatz (1166461) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192229)

Am I the only one who has seen drivers with a rear camera hit something or someone because they looked ONLY at the camera and not at the mirrors or out the windows. I think that when more vehicles come with a standard backup camera, there will be more such incidents, not fewer.

Re:More injuries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192269)

Write that on the Obamacaresaboutyou website. I mean, he really cares. However, doing the math, it says that (assuming this is perfect), that human lives are worth about $10M a pop, which is within an order of magnitude. Also, most of the people who get killed are little kids. I could make comments about teaching yoru kids, but I beat that behaviour out of mine, which cost a lot less than $100, but ran the risk of talking to CPS for keeping my kids alive

Re:More injuries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192379)

Quality Troll. Very ready to start a long thread. Would Read Again. A+++++++

Re:More injuries (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192375)

I just bought a car with a backup cam less than 2 weeks ago. I can see everything in the cam that I can see in the mirrors unless I move them to some weird angle. So long as I have the camera set to "wide angle" view, that is. The picture quality is pretty crappy at night, though.

What if ... (2, Interesting)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192231)

I already know how to back up? Look for people and objects that are behind me and know how to avoid them? Do *I* still havbe to pay extra fora car with a feature I'll never need?

And what about heatproof, waterproof, sun/age embrittlement of the screen and button? Guess what, some of us live in climates with actual temperature extremes and cracked dashboards are a way of life in older cars. Do those cameras and display screen hold up, or do I just replace them regularly (at a nice tidy profit for the dealer and manufacturer) as the environmental wear kicks in?

And then there are the insurance liabilities. If I have a camera and it doesn't work, am I now automatically at fault, even when it was the otherguy that ran behind the car?

Just not loving this as a requirement.

Re:What if ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192421)

Your always at fault if you hit someone backing up period.

Re:What if ... (1)

a_nonamiss (743253) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192501)

Most of the cheaper ones are embedded in the glass of the rearview mirror. Not completely environment-proof, but not something that I would say would wear out or need to be replaced regularly.

Re:What if ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192583)

The role of government is to ensure that average people don't have to take responsibility for themselves, and that people capable of taking care of themselves shut up and deal with the extra expenses, restrictions, environmental waste, etcetera, involved. (See also tire pressure monitors.)
 
Really, all I want is to be able to go to a government office and get an "I'm a fucking responsible adult" card, so then I can be a little more free to live my life.

User Error (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192273)

The problem with a camera is that it will only save a pedestrian if the driver uses it.

I suspect that in most of the accidents due care isn't being taken. A camera won't change that.

useless (2)

gtswift (1848086) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192279)

The same people who ignore their mirrors, will ignore their rear view cameras as well.

Bicycles! (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192287)

I am so waiting for my HUD visor displaying my rear view video camera output! The ultimate geek bicycle gizmo!

Not fair to those who can pick a proper vehicle (1)

oic0 (1864384) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192301)

I drive a single cab light pickup. It has almost zero blind spots and backing up is a breeze. Adding a camera to it would be superfluous. Same goes for the last car I own. It had lots of glass so you could actually see out of it all around. Vehicles with big blind spot problems are huge cars with tiny glass for aesthetic purposes and behemoth trucks / SUVs. Believe me, I know, I also drive loud motorcycle. You can tell the people with very poor situational awareness due to blind spots because they freak out when they first hear me near them. I can literally see them squirm around on the road as they are in there going "OMG Where is the motorcycle? Am I about to run it over?"

Dupe. Also, a good idea. (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192305)

Dupe: http://www.tech.slashdot.org/story/10/12/05/0115234/Rear-View-Cameras-On-Cars-Could-Become-Mandatory-In-the-US [slashdot.org]

Also, I think this is a good idea. I used a backup camera in a rented Ford once (the screen was in the rear-view mirror.. clever). It was very effective and made what is honestly one of the more nerve-wracking parts of driving far easier.

Not worth it (5, Informative)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192311)

In determining how much money should be spent preventing a death, it's useful to attach a dollar amount to a human life. The dollar amount says that after you've spent that much money on one life, you're probably better off spending money saving a different life (probably from a different danger). The usual amount is $1 or $2 million.

Assuming a car lasts 14 years before it's permanently retired, consider a block of 14 years. At 200 lives/year saved, that's 2800 lives saved. At 250 million cars in the US multiplied by $75/car for additional equipment, that's $19 billion. Divided by 2800, that's $6.7 million/life saved. Too much money -- and that's for cars that already have displays.

As just one example of where money would be better spent, and yes it's a pet peeve of mine, is installing a guard rail in the median of the Fairfax County Parkway. There are a handful of deaths from head-on collisions every year, and it would cost only $10 million to install a guardrail.

Re:Not worth it (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192417)

And you're assuming in your calculations the cameras would have saved all 200 of the people who get backed over every year, which is almost certainly not true.

The whole idea is ill-conceived.

Re:Not worth it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192541)

Your math is crap, first of all this won't save everyone, second you aren't counting property damage or injury cost.

Pointless (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192315)

There is allready a rearview mirror installed in every car and people don't fucking look in those or pay any attention to sideview mirrors. The problem is the drivers not the equipment. If the morons back up without looking in the damn mirror then why do they think the dimwits will look at a screen. Now IF they transmitted the video wirelessly to their smartphone then maybe they might notice the guy walking behind the car. I doubt it though.

poor cost vs. reward (5, Informative)

justins98 (316484) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192319)

According to wardsauto.com, 13M cars and trucks were sold in 2011. At a cost of $200 each, that means it would cost $2.6B per year to add these cameras to every vehicle. Even if this would eliminate all 200 of the backup-related deaths each year (which it obviously wouldn't), that would mean spending $13M per life saved. This is far higher than the figure used in most engineering projects; i.e. this is not a good return per dollar on safety, and there are much more cost-effective ways to spend this money.

Re:poor cost vs. reward (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192483)

According to the EPA a life is only worth about $8M, putting this project way below profit margins

Re:poor cost vs. reward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192517)

Wish I had mod points for ya, brother.

It's not unlike âoeTake the number of vehicles in the field (A), multiply it by the probable rate of failure (b), multiply the result by the average out of court settlement (C.) A x B x C=XX. If XX is less then the cost of a recall, then we donâ(TM)t do one.â

Re:poor cost vs. reward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192531)

Except you're valuing all the 17,000 injuries at 0.

That's not good accounting.

Let's say each of the injuries is worth half a life.

That's 8700 lives.

2.6 billion / 8700 is roughly 300,000.

A bit too high for you? Well, ok, why don't you find the cost of injuries, then ask yourself which you'd prefer.

Re:poor cost vs. reward (1)

wift (164108) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192565)

Consider backing into a tree, another car, or other obstacle. Saves on insurance and other extraneous costs.

I have one in my wife's car and I like it as it is easier to see backing out of a parking spot.

Car Surfin wit my backup camera bitchez! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192349)

All wit my pants down.

This just in... (2)

dirtyhippie (259852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192353)

Breaking news: The guy who tries to upsell you at the car dealership has a tenuous grip in economics.

Back-up beepers coming next (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192355)

Next will come back-up beepers [wikipedia.org] (mandated by OSHA and yet at 97-112 decibels exceeds OSHA's own standard for job-site noise level!).

"But what about deaf people? They won't hear them!"

Next will come blindingly bright, flashing warning lights.

"But what about blind and deaf people?"

Fuck 'em -- they're not a big enough voting block.

Yup, our economy is in the shits and our elitist, establishment politicians are wasting time on yet more nanny legislation.

Better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192363)

Why don't we prohibit people who are unable to turn their heads from having a driver's licence? There's a good argument to be made that such an accessory could easily increase backup accidents on account of people becoming dependent on a device that provides less information than actually scanning the environment would. The burden is on the advocates of this proposal to prove that it would actually reduce fatalities and injuries.

I would also like to know why the nanny state apologists haven't yet demanded that we all wear helmets all day.

Sigh... (1)

englishknnigits (1568303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192367)

I know people who have backup cameras and don't pay attention to them. My friends wife had the backup sensors AND the backup camera but she didn't wait the 5 seconds it takes to boot and show an image so she backed up into her friends car. You can't fix stupid. All this will do is provide guaranteed income to companies that produce rear view cameras and make cars less affordable. Get off my back government.

Re:Sigh... (1)

furytrader (1512517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192447)

You gotta wonder who is behind this push? Who benefits the most? I am not aware of there even being some "national conversation" (to quote Hillary Clinton) about this issue - yet, ALL new automobiles will have to have these features in less than two years? WTF?

Re:Sigh... (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192493)

> but she didn't wait the 5 seconds it takes to boot
Why the hell isn't it a _priority_ to have these devices fully functional within 1 second?? Is firmware (software in cars) _already_ that bloated??

> You can't fix stupid.
Sadly, that is the root problem: Unawareness / not mindful. :-(

I would do the math... (1)

liquidweaver (1988660) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192411)

But I'm more comfortable with real numbers.
I mean, _clearly_ they would save at least $3000 because they would reduce the manufacturing cost that can be had for usually $4000.

Compare the $1000 savings... much better than paying just $1200 for the dealer option. I mean, that's more than 20% off.

And who doesn't want more than 20% off?

I want a backseat DVR. (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192425)

As a parent of 3 I would like a backseat camera with DVR. When the yelling starts I can rewind it and see who started it.

Do the math? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192459)

There's no way your numbers are right if you manage to charge $1600 for navigation. It is amazing how much auto builders can get away with charging.

More regulations = more regulators (0)

matty619 (630957) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192465)

Why the hell can't *I* choose the safety features of *my* own new car? Maybe I'd rather spend that extra money on a car with traction control, or maybe I have a very limited budget, but just want a basic no-frills new car that won't give me any trouble for the next few years. This just smacks of regulators trying to justify their jobs by creating regulations for the sake of regulations. Cars are really, really safe now. Do you really think that Ford would stop putting seatbelts in cars if the government didn't tell them they had to? The car company that kills fewer of it's customers than its rivals can sell more cars based on this fact. The car company that is consistently killing its customers will likely be out of business soon. I'm not saying there's no place for regulation, but this is getting ridiculous. Maybe next they'll say you can't have a black car because they're harder to see at night, after that, they'll say all cars have to be CalTrans Orange because they're safer. Regulators regulate, regardless of the necessity of regulation. A regulator that doesn't regulate is out of a job.

Flying cars by 2015 (1)

matty619 (630957) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192573)

Speaking of cars and 2014, aren't we supposed to all be in flying cars by now according to Back to the Future Part II? Why not regulate that into existence. All new cars have to fly by 2015. Then no one will get run over...EVER!! Finally government working for the people!

proximity sensors (3, Interesting)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192485)

Wouldn't a proximity sensor be a much better solution? I think they're cheaper, and they can yell at you if something/someone is in the way, much harder to ignore than a blob on the screen.

This must not stand! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192487)

It interferes with my liberties by infringing upon my sacramental right to not look in a camera as well as the devotional requirement to be sure that while I behave like a jackass, everybody else shall pay the price of it.

I guess I'll have to turn my seat around so I can no longer see the camera, and drive everywhere in Reverse.

I understand (1)

TheInternetGuy (2006682) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192539)

I understand that people don't like to be told what to do by the government. (esp. us slashdotters). But everyone who is arguing against this honestly just sound like people did back in the day when they mandated seat belts and air bags. ( I don't need it, I am an excellent driver, it is to expensive)

Drunk driving vs... this? (0)

eparker05 (1738842) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192553)

38k MVA deaths in 2009.
200 deaths caused by backup accidents is 0.6% of the national total.
12400 deaths caused by alcohol impaired drivers is about 38% of the national total.

Rear view cameras = $800
Breathalyzer key lock = ~$1500

For less than twice the price, you can get 62 times the life saving potential. Just food for thought.

Doubtful cost projections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39192579)

The BOM cost for a basic capture sensor, IR illumination and a screen cannot possibly be $150-200.

That's the BOM cost for a top of the line smart phone, which includes front and back sensors (and probably 5+ MP), vibrant touch screen, battery, some Cortex-A8/A9 processor variant, cell phone circuitry, a bunch of DDR3 RAM, a buttload of flash memory, myriad sensors, etc, case fabrication, etc. Half of this crap would be irrelevant with an analog solution anyway, which for a backup camera would be completely feasible.

Maybe the cost is the projected increase in the sticker price of the vehicle (which means BOM costs would be more like $25-50); only explanation I can come up with.

praiseworthy i guess... (2)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192611)

but, how many thousands die at the hands of drunk drivers each year? The breathalyzer mandate would be a tougher sell but save more lives. i guess you can sell cameras as "think of the children". The only thing that scares me on the road is the drunken idiots.

NSA spy cam (1)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192613)

If they make the camera wireless (to save money) then the government can watch us (from the car ahead). Wireless would be much easier than tying this into ONStar.

Price overestimated (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 2 years ago | (#39192619)

I think the price is severely overestimated.

The cost of cameras is quite cheap for the low resolution required as is the cost of small LCD displays. The cost of a decent cellphone camera is around $10 and LCD's in the quantity required are probably less than $20 with maybe $5 for the drive electronics. The camera can be lower quality since it doesn't need to handle very high resolution or internal focusing and the lens can be quite cheap as well. Add in the cost for the housing and lens and wiring and you may have $60-$80. The added advantage is that it makes parallel parking easier. My car came with it with the GPS unit and I find it useful since I can see my own bumper, making it easier to squeeze into spots where I otherwise can't see the hood of the car behind me very well. It still doesn't replace a rear-view mirror or turning your head around to see what's behind you since it's impossible to properly judge distance with the fisheye lens on it. In fact, a quick google search shows rear-view camera add-on kits for cars for under $100. If it's built in to the car it can be cheaper since the LCD housing and mounting hardware would be integrated into the dash.

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