Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will soon replace side-view mirrors with cameras on production automobiles in the U.S. The car maker joined the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers group and filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The company wants to get rid of mirrors and replace them with high-tech cameras in an effort to improve fuel efficiency and aerodynamic performance.
Tesla: New rules focus put focus on safety
It was two years in the making, but NHTSA issued the last warning that all cars weighing less than 10,000 pounds must have a back-up camera by May 2018. The rear-view cameras must allow drivers to view a 10-foot by 20-foot zone directly behind vehicle. Other requirements for system include linger time between 4 to 8 seconds, response time of 2 seconds, image size, durability, and deactivation.
This safety change will put family safety as a priority. The NHTSA reports there is a yearly average of 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries attributed to drivers backing over people behind their cars. 31% of the victims are small children and 26% of the victims are over 70. Last September, the Department of Transportation was sued by safety advocates who claimed the agency took too much time releasing federal standards for rear-view cameras.
Tesla: A rule that was a long time coming
Anthony Foxx, secretary for U.S. transportation, explained in a statement, “Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of backover accidents — our children and seniors. As a father, I can only imagine how heart wrenching these types of accidents can be for families, but we hope that today’s rule will serve as a significant step toward reducing these tragic accidents.”
Originally, the rules were supposed to be set in 2011. It was part of the 2008 Cameron Gulbrasen Kids Transportation Safety Act, which was approved by President George Bush. The rule called for final rules within the next three years. A purposed ruling was release by Department of Transportation in the latter half of 2010, but the final draft was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget one year later.
There was three extensions before the DOT withdrew the rule of OMB, and moved the deadline to 2015, ostensibly due to needing more time.