Why safety demands more digital screens in new cars
LCDs will increase by almost 90 percent in the next 3 years as the result of a government ruling requiring backup cameras.
You may have noticed that there are more screens installed in cars than ever before. As sophisticated in-dash systems such as Cadillac Cue become more common, screens will proliferate even more.
But safety, not infotainment, is behind the latest screen push. The government will soon require backup cameras on all new cars, and obviously, we'll need plenty of screens for them.
After missing a Dec. 31 deadline, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has, for the third time, delayed a rule requiring backup cameras. The ruling is the result of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007, named after a child killed when a car backed over him.
According to KidsandCars.org, a nonprofit advocacy group, at least 50 children in the U.S. are run over by reversing vehicles every week, with at least two fatally injured. The predominant age of victims is just 1 year old, and more than 60 percent of the accidents involved a large vehicle such as a truck, van or SUV. Even more tragic, a parent or close relative is behind the wheel more than 70 percent of the time.
The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act is designed “to direct the secretary of Transportation to issue regulations to reduce the incidence of child injury and death occurring inside or outside of light motor vehicles, and for other purposes.” While the ruling doesn’t specifically call for mandating rearview cameras, it does require an industry standard to detect people behind the vehicle, especially "small children and disabled people," according to ConsumerUnion.org.
Bloomberg reported that the ruling, which was signed by President George W. Bush almost five years ago and was co-sponsored by then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, is currently under discussion at the White House’s Office of Management and Budget. It’s one of the most expensive pending rules, with a stated cost to the auto industry of $2.7 billion. The rule remains “very much” on the table, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said last week, according to Bloomberg.
As a result of the expected federal mandate and the boost in demand for rearview cameras in cars, a recent report by the market forecasting firm IHS predicts that shipments of LCD screens for use in cars will almost double by 2016, up 89 percent from 2012 levels. “The major driver of growth will be a U.S. government mandate requiring all cars to incorporate rearview cameras by 2014,” Vinita Jakhanwal of IHS said in the report.
We won’t just see more screens in the dash, but also in rearview mirrors. Several vehicles from Ford, Mazda and Toyota include a small LCD screen in the rearview mirror. As with an in-dash screen that’s connected to a backup camera, the screen in the rearview mirror switches on when the transmission is shifted into reverse.
Some have argued that rearview cameras are overkill and aren’t necessary if drivers instead learn to properly check their rearview and side mirrors before backing up. But even smaller vehicles, like the Hyundai Veloster, can have huge blind spots, and this is an example of where technology can help save lives and injuries.
Doug Newcomb has been covering car technology for more than 20 years for outlets ranging from Rolling Stone to Edmunds.com. In 2008, he published his first book, "Car Audio for Dummies" (Wiley). He lives and drives in Hood River, Ore., with his wife and two kids, who share his passion for cars and car technology, especially driving and listening to music.
"at least 50 children in the U.S. are run over by reversing vehicles every week, with at least two fatally injured. The predominant age of victims is just 1 year old,"
1 year old?
WHERE ARE THE PARENTS?
You know folks, if you're going to have children, they can't raise themselves! They actually require some parental time.
I am of the opinion that the more bells and whistles we add on a car, the more problems we will introduce - both to the car and the driver in the end. To the car, in the fact that there will be more things to break, and to add to its maintenance cost. To the driver by adding to his list of "must-dos." Already many drivers are driving distracted - with their hand-held phones and such.Incoming calls are just as much of a bother as outgoings.
It is time we stress the need for all to be 110% concentrated on the business of driving once behind the wheel. Why? The driver is the key to safe operation of his vehicle. He or she should be careful to stay alert while on the road, and not be depending on whatever gizmo that comes with the car to keep his or her car under control.Too many are already overtaxing the limits of both car and driver without their knowing it.They forget how unforgiving the laws of physics can be - while they hurtle down the road - way over the speed limit.
Have you not noticed the dramatic increase in the number of chain reaction crashes of late? Or, taking it more closer to home, how many still drive without their lights (head and tailights) on when visibility is poor? Be forewarned that we have so many careless and worst - reckless people sharing our roadways even in the modern and enlightened age.
There we go again, government trying to make everything 100% safe for all of us. We are suffocating under government rules and regulations and it's costing us plenty. Just got an OSHA 10 card, my God, if we were to adhere to everything that in their book of nonsense is teaching, we wouldn't accomplish anything.
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