Rear view cameras to be mandatory in all new cars in the US by 2018


April 3, 2014

Rearview camera systems will be mandatory on new vehicles in the US from May 2018 
(Photo: Shutterstock)

Rearview camera systems will be mandatory on new vehicles in the US from May 2018 (Photo: Shutterstock)

Most of the vehicle safety features made mandatory by lawmakers, such as seat-belts and airbags, provide protection to those inside the vehicle. But in a move to protect those outside the vehicle, specifically, in the blind spot behind the vehicle, the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a proposed rule requiring rear view cameras to be installed in all new vehicles under 10,000 lb (4,536 kg) in the US from May, 2018.

According to the NHTSA, every year in the US there are an average of 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries caused by a vehicle backing over someone. Children under five account for 31 percent of fatalities, with adults over 70 accounting for 26 percent. The efficacy of rear view cameras in reducing the risk of such accidents has long been recognized, and many auto manufacturers have already made such technology standard equipment on many models.

With the new rule to apply to all new vehicles weighing under 10,000 lb (4,536 kg), it will cover passenger cars, SUVs, buses and light trucks. It also sets a minimum field of view for rear view cameras, which must include a 10-ft (3 m) by 20-ft (6 m) zone directly behind the vehicle. However, instead of setting the minimum size for the in-vehicle display or dictating its placement, the NHTSA is adopting a minimum image size requirement – in other words, how large displayed objects appear to the driver.

The NHTSA expects the new rule, which will be final in 60 days of the March 31st announcement, will save 58 to 69 lives each year once the entire on-road vehicle fleet is equipped with systems that meet the specifications outlined.

Source: NHTSA

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Well good. Every little step makes that difference.

In our neck of the woods, new laws are coming in such that no new car can be sold that does not have stability control, brake force distribution and ABS.

The next one around the corner might just be the law that dictates the minimum number of airbags and where.

If everyone has to get on board to sell product they can't sell safety as an option, or offer it only on the 'premium' brands, as if to say the lives of people that earn less are worth less.


Why only vehicles under 10,000 lbs? You can see our the back of those! Is those over that weight they should be worrying about!

Cé hé sin

@ Cé hé sin

Good point. Not only is it necessary to cover the rear of the vehicle, but also the side, especially for commercial vehicles when entering a main road at a shallow angle. The rear view mirror does not exist and the side mirrors all too often do not cover the main road enough to let the driver know when it is safe to exit the side road.

The need for better all-round visibility on large vehicles is all the more important for vehicles whose base country drives on the opposite side of the road e.g. Mainland European vehicles driving in the U.K. and vice versa.

Mel Tisdale

They shoud have automated view change in rear view mirror. Not sure why only smaller vehicles, I guess, people driving those have the most deaths occurences? Also, add the audible and then we are all safe??


Ok. I'm all for saving lives but this government nanny stuff is getting old. How many people were killed last year by backing vehicles? Maybe 15 or 20? Why not proximity alarms that many cars already have on rear bumpers. Nooo, let's jack up the price of a new car by 1000 dollars for a rear mount camera and a dash monitor. Wonder what GOP or Dem Congressmen are secret stockholders in companies that make those camera systems? The Feds are completely into our private lives now. And that is NOT good!


Human drivers cause accidents through inattention, texting, drinking, and speeding to mention a few. Robots mandated to replace human drivers by 2025 says NHTSA.


@edro: please read the article before posting. "210 fatalities and over 15,000 injuries" per year. Also, from another article ( ) on this, the estimate was $140 per camera system.

Also of note is the property damage (not mentioned by either article) that is caused yearly by people who have trouble reading their mirrors while backing up.

Bryan P

Esp for SUVs, midsize on up alone, almost got into accident since I couldn't see my rear.

Stephen Russell

I'd rather see them require better rear and side visibility.


and these camera and display systems are going to last 150 to 200 thousand miles? I don't think so.....

Buzz Allnight

How many times have you seen a person talking on their phone enter their vehicle, strap in, put into reverse all the while yacking into the phone blocking their driver mirror?? Will this be mandatory on the Mazda MX5? Honda Fit? Smart car for two? Instead of turning their head around these drivers will stare at a small screen with a limited viewing angle trusting that this is all they need to be safe. Why wasn't this made to be a mandatory OPTION on all cars? Here is some (un)common sense for parking taught to me by my grandfather: Back into your driveway/parking spot. Nothing there is moving, and if something does it's moving into your line of sight from close by. Why would anyone chose to back into possible moving traffic or a pedestrian path? You're usually not in a rush when you've arrived home but more likely when leaving for work, etc. I drove a 80k lb. combination vehicle for 10yrs without backing into anything I didn't know was there. If I wasn't sure I adjusted my mirrors and/or got out to check. People will still be injured after this is mandatory by a driver that swears they didn't see them. "If you can't drive it, don't buy it"


Just another intrusion from the government into our cars. The manufacturer's cost for hardware may be $140 (as mentioned by a previous comment) but you can sure bet that the cost to the consumer will be higher.

There are approximately 200 million cars in the US right now and 200 fatalities a year, or roughly one fatality for every 1,000,000 vehicles Assume that this system will prevent 75% of these fatalities , that means to save 1 life 1.3 million vehicles needs to be equipped. Let us also assume that the cost is only $100 per vehicle because it make the math easy. To me that means each life saved only costs $130,000,000 .

Sorry not worth it.

Whey not force each driver to pay $100 to take a driver ed course every couple of years. Why not make helmets mandatory in cars, that would save a tremendous amount of life. 5 Point harnesses they would help. Mandatory safety inspections every time the licence is renewed.

There are a lot of ways that would save lives more efficiently than this.

Of course this would require some effort from people so take the easy expensive path. At least it looks like they are doing something and isn't that what is is all about when you work for the government.


@Buzz Allnight: Yes they will. My 10-year-old vehicle has more than that on it and the reversing camera system still works perfectly.

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