The U.S. Department of Transportation has recently proposed a new safety regulation aimed at eliminating blind zones directly behind vehicles that often hide the presence of pedestrians, especially young children and the elderly. The proposal, as issued by the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), would require auto manufacturers to expand the driver’s field of view, allowing them to see directly behind the vehicle when the vehicle’s transmission is in reverse. NHTSA believes that auto makers will be prompted to install rear-mounted back-up cameras along with in-vehicle displays in an effort to meet the proposed standard. If this proposal is passed, these regulations will be phased in beginning in 2012, and all new vehicles will be required to comply by September of 2014.

NHTSA estimates that an average of 292 fatalities and 18,000 injuries are caused by pedestrian back-over crashes annually. Approximately 44 percent of these fatalities involve children under the age of 5 and 33 percent involve elderly people over the age of 70.