The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require all new vehicles — from small subcompacts to commercial vans — to have "rear visibility technology" beginning in May 2018.
The new rule essentially mandates that all vehicles be equipped with a rearview camera.
As USA Today reports, the new rule comes in response to lobbying from consumer groups and families who "have been touched by tragedies involving back-over accidents, especially those involving children in parking lots."
"Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents — our children and seniors," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "As a father, I can only imagine how heart wrenching these types of accidents can be for families, but we hope that today's rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents."
NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman said the new rule "will save lives."
The agency said, in the end, the regulation will save 58 to 69 lives a year.
Reuters reports that many manufacturers have been adding the cameras to meet customer demand. The wire service adds:
"The field of view must include a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle. The system must also meet other requirements including image size, linger time, response time and durability."