Mandatory Back-Up Camera Increases Cost by $200 – Good or Bad?
An update to a story we ran 2 years ago is that it’s looking more and more likely that rear view cameras will become mandatory equipment in all new 2014 vehicles by the end of the 2012. At a cost increase of $200 per vehicle, is it a necessary safety feature or another case of mandatory equipment pushing car prices higher and higher?
In 2007, Congress passed legislation that required the government to set rear visibility standards by February 2011. At the time, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood pushed back that time frame. In February of 2012, LaHood set a new deadline of Dec. 31. The Detroit News is reporting that LaHood will meet with White House officials in an effort to finalize the requirement before his deadline.
According to the Detroit News:
Backovers kill about 300 people annually and injure 16,000. About one-third of fatalities involve children age 5 or younger and “there are strong reasons … to prevent these deaths,” NHTSA said in announcing proposed rules. Another third involve people 70 and older.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has previously agrued that back-up cameras are worth the cost (passed on to consumers), although drivers are still ultimately responsible for their driving habits. The financial cost of adding cameras will cost the automobile industry a staggering number $1.9 to $2.7 billion annually, according to NHTSA. However, when you break that down per vehicle sold in the U.S., the cost is more manageable at $200 per.
As we argued in Dec. 2010 post, new safety regulations have a bit of a checkered history among car buyers and automakers. While several innovations are now seen as no-brainers (i.e., seat belts, air bags, etc…), there is a long standing argument that skyrocketing new car prices aren’t worth the required safety equipment. The nickle-and-dime approach to adding safety equipment adds up in the long run and many people feel like consumers are paying too much of the burden for the variety of safety and air quality equipment.
In the end, it seems that many consumers feel powerless to accept these new standards and pay the additional cost. Yet, the Alliance of Automobile Manufactures has urged NHTSA to talk about the costs and conduct additional studies.
The auto alliance is trying to change NHTSA’s mind by breaking down the cost in a different way. It has a presentation which according to the Detroit News, says the “cost of the regulation per life saved is $11 million, compared to $9.8 million per life saved under roof strength regulations and under $4 million for side impact regulations.” The argument is tough because you are essentially asking people to say how valuable a person’s life is.
What do you think of mandatory back-up cameras? Is there other equipment you would like to see standard? Or is this just another unnecessary intrusion by big brother?
Filed Under: Auto News