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The Truth About Backup Cameras And Safety

Posted in Car Accidents on June 7, 2021

Backup cameras have been standard on all new motor vehicles since May 1, 2018. Still, backup accidents continue to occur at a surprising rate. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that backup accidents result in about 18,000 injuries and 300 fatalities each year in the United States.

Approximately one-quarter of motor vehicle accidents are related to backing up. However, backing up accounts for only about one percent of the drive time for motorists. Backing up accidents involve other vehicles, pedestrians, toys, animals, fixed objects, and other items in a driver’s blind spot.

Backup cameras were supposed to prevent backup accidents. However, while these cameras prevent some accidents related to backing up, motorists continue to cause accidents when they are traveling in reverse.

When Did Backup Cameras Become Standard Equipment?

A lawsuit filed against the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2013 forced the department to comply with the requirements of the K.T. Safety Act of 2007. The result of the lawsuit was that backup cameras became standard equipment on all new motor vehicles beginning on May 1, 2018. All vehicles sold in the United States after that date must be equipped with backup cameras.

Many vehicle manufacturers already offered backup cameras as standard equipment on some vehicles. Other manufacturers included backup cameras as part of their driver assistance technology packages.

Although backup cameras are now standard equipment, it will take decades for newer models with backup cameras to replace older model vehicles. Furthermore, there is evidence that backup cameras are not as effective at preventing accidents in reverse as many parties had hoped.

How Does Your Backup Camera Work?

When you put your vehicle in reverse, small cameras at the rear of the vehicle display the area behind your car on a dashboard screen. You can see the area immediately behind your vehicle. Depending on the vehicle, backup cameras may show a more extensive area behind the vehicle.

The backup cameras let you see if there is a child, animal, or other objects directly behind the vehicle. The assumption was that backup cameras would reduce the number of reverse driving accidents because drivers could see what was in their blind spot.

However, the driver must check the camera display before backing up to ensure nothing is behind the vehicle. Unfortunately, research has shown that drivers continue to have backup accidents, even in vehicles equipped with backup cameras.

The Washington Post published a story about backup cameras. The number of new vehicles equipped with backup cameras increased by 36 percent from 2008 to 2011. However, the number of backup accidents during that period only fell by eight percent.

You would assume that as more vehicles equipped with backup cameras are on the road, you would see a more considerable decrease in the number of backup accidents. The conclusion must be that drivers do not pay attention to these cameras and continue to back up without checking their blind spot for hazards.

The NHTSA pointed out that the number of fatalities caused by these accidents fell during that same period. It estimates that 58 to 69 lives could be saved each year if all vehicles had backup cameras installed.

Who is Responsible for a Backup Accident?

In most cases, the driver who backed into you is responsible for the damages caused by a rear driving crash. Drivers may fail to check the rear blind spot because they are distracted, in a rush, impaired by alcohol, or rely too heavily on other driver assistance technology, such as rear automatic braking.

A backing-up accident can cause severe injuries for the person hit by the vehicle, such as:

The damages caused by the rear driving accident could be significant. For example, a person may have large medical bills and lost income due to the accident.

In addition to the economic damages, victims may also experience significant pain and suffering, permanent impairments, and decreased quality of life. These non-economic damages can also be included in a personal injury claim.

As with all other car accident claims, you must file your claim before the Statute of Limitations expires. In most cases, accident victims have three years from the car crash date to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long, your lawsuit could be dismissed.

If you are unsure what to do after a car accident, talk with a car accident attorney. You can also consult a lawyer to make sure that a settlement offer from the insurance company is fair before you accept the offer.

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