Can Backup Cameras Really Reduce Accidents?

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Did you know that in 2018, a new rule from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) took effect that required all new vehicles to have backup cameras? The purpose of a backup camera is to help prevent back-over crashes. This can include preventing vehicle impact with vulnerable people, including children and the elderly, who may not be seen by a reversing driver. While backup cameras were not required until 2018, approximately half of all new cars already had backup cameras in 2014. 

At the time the rule took effect, an estimated 500,000 backing-up accidents occurred in the United States each year. The Insurance Information Institute reviewed crash data from 22 states, and their findings suggest that backup cameras reduce collisions by 16 percent. Similarly, NHTSA also published data in 2016 that the number of people killed by reversing cars fell from 274 to 189 between 2008 and 2011. 

The data also suggested, however, that the reduction in accidents was not uniform across all drivers. In fact, as the IIHS study illustrated, the biggest reduction was for drivers over the age of 70. Other age groups had little to no reduction in their rates of backup accidents. 

Moreover, backup accidents have not been found to be a major cause of injuries and fatalities. According to the NHTSA data for 2011, backup accidents caused 189 fatalities and approximately 12,000 injuries. In 2016, over 37,000 lives were lost in collisions on US roads, and there were more than 2.3 million crash-related injuries. Due to the finding that backup accidents are not a significant cause of vehicle accidents, reductions in the number of backup accidents will not likely have a significant impact on insurance rates. 

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