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Money Minute: Not enough focus on rearview cameras [Video]

February 29, 2012|By David Lazarus

Sometimes you just gotta wonder.

Federal regulators have been calling on the auto industry for years to help reduce accidents by installing rearview cameras on vehicles.

Yet an official rule requiring such technology on new cars and trucks keeps getting postponed. In January, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told Congress he expected his department to issue the requirement by Feb. 29. Now he says it probably won't come until the end of the year.

"Further study and data analysis -- including of a wider range of vehicles and drivers -- is important to ensure the most protective and efficient rule possible," LaHood said. "The department remains committed to improving rearview visibility for the nation's fleet, and we expect to complete our work and issue a final rule by Dec. 31, 2012."

Seriously? Further study?

Two kids die and about 50 are hurt every week on average by motorists (often parents) backing over them. Meanwhile, drivers routinely are backing into poles, walls, fences and other non-car-friendly objects.

The auto industry doesn't like the proposed requirement because it could add an estimated $200 to the cost of a vehicle. The industry didn't like seat belts for the same reason. Or air bags.

The data are clear. Rearview cameras might not prevent all accidents, but they'd certainly help. Federal officials don't need any more task forces or blue-ribbon panels. They need to act. And soon.

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