Customers currently have the option to spring for a backup camera on their new car purchase, but that decision is being taken away from them.
As of the May 2018, every single vehicle manufactured for sale in the United States that weighs less than 10,000 pounds must be fit with a backup camera. The camera must cover a field of view at least 10-feet by 20-feet, directly behind the vehicle.
The rule is being phased in over the next few years, and will require automakers to build at least 10 percent of their vehicles from May 1, 2016, to May 1, 2017 with a compliant backup camera. From there, the amount of vehicles jumps to 40 percent for the following year, and finally it hits 100 percent on May 1, 2018.
Congress called for this rule back in 2008, and the Department of Transportation proposed the regulations in 2010, but cost concerns put forth by manufacturers dragged out the decision.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it will cost between $132 and $142 to equip a 2018 model year vehicle with a camera and a display screen. On cars that already have a usable screen, that cost shrinks to between $43 and $45. The total fleet cost for the 2018 model year is expected to be somewhere between $546 million and $640 million.
NHTSA says there are 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries due to backup related injuries each year, and this new rule will help to save at least 58 to 69 lives each year once fully implemented.