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To What Extent Are Backup Cameras Improving Vehicle Safety?

Published on Oct 8, 2020 by Thomas Law Offices.

Car parked on side of road in city

Driver assistance technologies, when used properly, have the potential to keep drivers, passengers, and pedestrians safe. As car developers and manufacturers continue to outfit the newest vehicles with the newest safety features, some of the most common focus on forward collisions prevention, lane and side assist, maintaining safe distances, and backing up and parking.

In regard to backing up and parking, backup cameras help prevent backover crashes—protecting some of the most vulnerable people, including children and senior citizens. Essentially, backup cameras help drivers see behind their vehicles. This, however, doesn’t mean backover accidents have stopped. Let’s take a look at to what extent backup cameras have improved vehicle safety.

How Rearview Video Systems Work

There are an estimated 500,000 backing accidents in the United States every year. In May 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) established a regulation requiring automotive manufacturers to include a backup camera on all new vehicles. The agency considers rearview video systems to be lifesaving technology, similar to airbags and seatbelts.

Backup cameras activate when a driver shifts a vehicle into reverse. The rearview video system (RVS) will display its image either in the dashboard or in a small display in the rearview mirror. The field of view a driver will see includes a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle.

In order to understand how most drivers utilize a backup camera, the NHTSA conducted an On-Road Study of Drivers’ Use of Rearview Video Systems. This study tested 37 participate, aged 25 to 60, and included 13 drivers of vehicles with backup cameras and rear parking sensor systems, 12 drivers of vehicles with backup cameras, and 12 drivers of vehicles with no backing aid.

Overall, the study concluded that drivers look at the rearview video displays during backing maneuvers at least some of the time. Approximately 14% of glances in baseline and obstacle events and 10% of glances in naturalistic backing maneuvers went to the backup camera.

It’s important for drivers to remember that rearview video systems are not a replacement for mirrors or turning around to look. Instead, they should be used as an added safety tool for revealing hidden dangers while still checking their blind spots, walking around their vehicle prior to getting in the driver’s seat, and properly adjusting their seat position and mirrors before driving.

The Limitations of Backup Cameras

As with any product or device, not all backup cameras are created equal. Because of that, it’s important for drivers to understand the limitations of their vehicles’ camera, so they can compensate for those issues and ensure they are operating their vehicle as safely as possible.

Backup cameras can be classified into four levels: low, mid, high, and high plus. A system’s classification is based on the following camera quality levels:

  • Analog video output
  • Digital video output
  • One-megapixel resolution
  • 1080p resolution or higher
  • High dynamic range
  • Object and pedestrian detection
  • Digital distortion/perspective correction

Some car manufacturers provide low-end cameras on base-level and mid-level vehicles in order to fulfill the mandate. The consumer, however, may not realize that their backup camera doesn’t have the capabilities or image-quality of those in higher-level vehicles.

Even as the number of backup cameras on the road increases, federal data shows that the technology hasn’t significantly cut down on cars backing into people and causing injuries. Over a three year period, from 2008 to 2011 when backup cameras in vehicles went from 32% to 68%, injuries decreased by less than 8% and deaths from backover crashes dropped 31%.

Know Your Rights After a Car Accident

While continued advancements in technology have the potential to reduce accident and injury rates, human error will likely remain the number one cause of traffic collisions. When someone is injured in a crash, they may be eligible for compensation.

If you’ve been involved in a car accident and believe someone else’s negligence played a role in your injuries, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options. If, for example, a driver was relying solely on their backup camera when they crashed into your vehicle, an experienced Louisville auto accident lawyer can help you build a claim on the concept of negligence that proves they were not abiding by the required duty of care.

Thomas Law Offices will fight on your behalf to ensure you receive the compensation you need to recover financially after a crash. This way, you can focus on managing your physical and mental health, without worrying about bills or expenses. To learn more about filing a claim, schedule a case evaluation with our firm today.

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At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

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Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

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