Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, Rearview Mirrors; Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, Low-Speed Vehicles Phase-In Reporting Requirements
The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007 directs NHTSA to issue a final rule amending the agency's Federal motor vehicle safety standard on rearview mirrors to improve the ability of a driver to detect pedestrians in the area immediately behind his or her vehicle and thereby minimize the likelihood of a vehicle's striking a pedestrian while its driver is backing the vehicle. Pursuant to this mandate, NHTSA is proposing to expand the required field of view for all passenger cars, trucks, multipurpose passenger vehicles, buses, and low-speed vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds or less, gross vehicle weight. Specifically, NHTSA is proposing to specify an area immediately behind each vehicle that the driver must be able to see when the vehicle's transmission is in reverse. It appears that, in the near term, the only technology available with the ability to comply with this proposal would be a rear visibility system that includes a rear- mounted video camera and an in-vehicle visual display. Adoption of this proposal would significantly reduce fatalities and injuries caused by backover crashes involving children, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and other pedestrians. In light of the difficulty of effectively addressing of the backover safety problem through technologies other than camera systems and given the differences in the effectiveness and cost of the available technologies, we developed several alternatives that, compared to the proposal, offer less, but at least in one case still substantial, benefits and do so at reduced cost. We seek comment on those alternatives and on other possible ways to achieve the statutory objective and meet the statutory requirements at lower cost.