The final approval of a rule proposed by President Barack Obama that would require all vehicles sold in the United States by 2014 to have backup cameras is under debate.
The backup camera rule, and estimated by the Obama administration to cost as much as $2.7 billion, is now part of the national debate about federal regulations, public safety and jobs.
According to official estimates, an average of 292 people die each year from back-over accidents, most of them elderly and children. Mandatory rearview cameras are expected to cut the number of deaths in half, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The regulation would cost as much as $18.5 million per life saved.
The cost is considered to be too high by critics of the regulation, who argue it would also lead to many lost jobs, since the money could be used to create more jobs in other areas. “Congress built flexibility into this law to balance safety and cost, and unfortunately NHTSA has ignored Congress by mandating an expensive, one-size-fits-all solution for rearview cameras,” Gloria Bergquist, an Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers spokeswoman, was quoted as saying by the Detroit News. It is estimated that rearview cameras would add from $58 to $203 to the cost of a vehicle.