Why Your Next Car Needs to Have a Backup Camera

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Why Your Next Car Needs to Have a Backup Camera
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Which park assist technology do you prefer: parking sensors or backup cameras? 

Two studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety say that cameras help prevent needless accidents and are a better option for drivers than parking sensors.

With almost 300 people killed and 18,000 injured in “back-over” crashes (mostly young children), the IIHS conducted two studies to show how useful backup cameras and parking sensors actually are in preventing these kinds of incidents.

One test involved seeing which of the two technologies improved the drivers ability to detect items in the blind spot behind the car and below the windshield. The study proved that cameras are far more effective than sensors, although when the two features are paired, the driver had the best chance of avoiding an accident.

The second test involved 111 drivers who were asked to park a Chevrolet Equinox. As the car was moving, a foam cut out of a child was placed behind the car. The study found that drivers with a backup camera equipped were able to avoid hitting the obstacle better than those who relied on parking sensors. However, the results weren’t very impressive.

Although all drivers without electronic aids hit the dummy, even 56 percent of those actually using the camera still hit the fake child. Only six percent of drivers using the parking sensors avoided the dummy, and 75 percent of those using both sensors and cameras hit the dummy.

While the study shows that these park assists are helpful, it also proves that it’s not enough. The IIHS advises that automatic braking could help further improve these results.

The conclusions of these new reports also helps to strengthen arguments calling for mandatory backup cameras on new vehicles.  Last fall, Consumers Union joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Transportation because the agency failed to finalize the rule proposed for these mandatory technologies in 2010.

  • MistyGreen

    Can we talk about the test? Haha “Ok, you’re gonna back up, and at some point I’m gonna put something behind the car, so don’t hit it.”

    Also, I’m glad someone is testing this out. Leave it to the IIHS. More power to em.

  • Bill

    Where did it say the participants were told about the object behind the car? If that were the case, 100% of them should have not hit the object rather than all of the unassisted drivers hitting the dummy. Sounds to me that the test was valid.

  • MistyGreen

    It was a joke. After I read through the report it sounds like the users thought the test was all over (they had just done some test on visibility) and thought they were just driving back to their personal vehicle, parked elsewhere. Not sure how they masked it, but it’s still pertinent no matter what.