Following in the footsteps of airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes and other safety technologies, it appeared for a time like the next safety rule change that would affect all automakers would be mandatory backup cameras. It initially appeared that the mandate would go into effect for 2014 model year vehicles, but the rule has been postponed once again. Bloomberg is reporting part of the holdup is due to regulators debating the addition of safety rating incentives for vehicles that have the feature.
Outgoing Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said more cost analysis was needed, in pushback from some automakers on the cost of the implementation of the rule. Originally, the backup camera mandate was to be applicable to all cars and trucks, whereas automakers countered the technology made the most sense on larger vehicles with more compromised rearward visibility.
At this point, the earliest timeframe for full or staggered implementation on mandatory backup cameras looks like late 2015, for implementation in 2017 and later model year vehicles. Some automakers, such as Honda, are supportive of the rule, and already offer backup cameras as standard or optional on the majority of their models. Others argue that such a sweeping mandate is not necessary.