When backup cameras first entered the automotive industry, people liked the increased safety and the ease of parallel parking with a camera. But these were still seen as a luxury feature. Most vehicles just required you to back up with your mirrors, as people have done for decades.
That has changed, however, as federal regulations have been updated to require backup cameras on all new vehicles. This is a federal law that first impacted new cars in 2019. Cameras are no longer an upgrade that people are going to add to a specific build, perhaps at an increased cost. They are a legal requirement. Any vehicle that you buy off of the lot should have a backup camera, whether you asked for one or not.
Increased safety is clear
The reason for this change is that it quickly became clear that backup cameras really helped to keep people safe. A disproportionate number of car accidents are caused when people are driving in reverse. When you consider the full amount of time that a single person spends backing up – about 1% of all driving time – it is so much smaller than the amount of time they spend driving forward, but the accident rate (25%) is much higher than you would expect.
A lot of this simply has to do with visibility issues. Even with mirrors, people still may not see vehicles, pedestrians or even structures behind them. Children, due to their short stature, are much harder to see when someone is just using the mirrors to back out of a driveway, for instance.
In other cases, people cause accidents because they neglect to adjust their mirrors properly, whereas backup cameras are always perfectly angled. Cameras also give a wider view and can be combined with alarm systems to warn the driver if they’re going to impact something.
Technology can’t fix the accident problem
Of course, auto safety technology has always been improving, but accidents do continue to happen. Even if you have the safest car on the market, you could be hit by another driver who made a mistake. If you are, be sure you know how to seek financial compensation for medical bills and other costs.