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Debate on rear-view car cameras lingers

Thursday - 1/24/2013, 6:56am  ET

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Cars have many more safety features today, like air bags and air pressure monitors, but the push continues to install rear-view mirror cameras to help minimize the dangerous blind spot.

And it has been a long uphill battle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 300 people die each year, a third of which are young children, and nearly 16,000 people are injured by cars backing up over pedestrians.

The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act was created in 2007 during the Bush Administration after a child was killed.

MSN Auto explains the goal of the act was to create some action to reduce child injury or death. It did not specifically call for mandating rear-view mirror cameras, but it did call for an industry standard.

The NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation are both in favor of mandating all automakers to install such cameras. The mandate would go into full effect by 2014.

However, the department yet again delayed a vote on the legislation on Dec. 31 of last year.

"The Department remains committed to improving rear-view visibility for the nation's fleet and will issue a final rule upon completion of the regulatory review process," a spokeswoman tells WTOP in an email.

WTOP has not received word about when that review process will wrap up.

It is, of course, a costly venture for automakers.

According to the Detroit News, adding cameras to cars without a display screen already in place would cost around $200, or close to $2.5 billion annually.

However, many automakers are now installing the display screens and some automakers are installing the rear-view mirror cameras, including basic models of the Honda Pilot and the Cadillac Cue.

MSN Auto also points out that some have argued rear-view cameras are overkill and are not necessary.

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(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)