Beep beep beep. It's the sound of a van backing up.
Back up noises and cameras are becoming increasingly common in modern vehicles. The systems have a video screen in the dashboard and a camera near the bumper which allow the driver to see behind them. They also commonly have an audible noise that warns the driver of people or objects behind them.
Now the federal government is considering a proposal to make back-up cameras mandatory starting in 2014.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed the idea, arguing that back-up cameras keep drivers from running over pedestrians that cross behind their vehicles, the Los Angeles Times reports. The cameras can also save drivers money by reducing the occurrence of backing into things like telephone poles, parking meters and other vehicles. On average, 292 people die and over 18,000 are injured annually due to back-over crashes, with children and the elderly being the most common victims, according to the NHTSA.
“There is no more tragic accident than for a parent or caregiver to back out of a garage or driveway and kill or injure an undetected child ... [Back-up cameras] will help drivers see into those blind zones directly behind vehicles to make sure it is safe to back up,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Under the proposed rule, the requirement would be implemented on a rolling basis between now and late 2014. That means you might start seeing an increase in back-up cameras the next time you're car shopping. Specifically, 10% of new vehicles would have to comply by 2012, 40% by 2013 and 100% by 2014.