By 2014, all new cars will be required to include rearview cameras—but not because federal auto safety regulators would like to create a nation of better parallel parkers. The new rule is an effort to decrease a disturbing statistic: Each week, two children are killed and about 50 hurt, on average, by cars accidentally backing up over them, according to a nonprofit group. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration first proposed the mandate in 2010; Congress will get the final version tomorrow.
According to government statistics, 228 people are killed each year in backover accidents, and as many as 112 of those deaths can be eliminated if the blind spot is done away with, the New York Times reports. Despite the fact that cars include many government-mandated safety features already, "we haven’t done anything else to protect pedestrians," says one expert. "This is one thing we can do and should do." Regulators predict that the new rule will cost the auto industry up to $2.7 billion per year, and at least some of the cost, pegged at $160 to $200 per vehicle, will likely be passed on via higher auto prices. Rearview cameras currently come standard on 45% of 2012 vehicles. (Read more rearview camera stories.)