The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced that all new vehicles weighing under 10,000 pounds will be required to include rear-visibility technology by May 2018. Rear-view video systems already available on many models are on the road to satisfying this requirement.

Rear-view cameras automatically turn on when an equipped vehicle is shifted into reverse, providing the driver with a wide field of view behind the vehicle. This allows for both added safety and convenience.

“Everybody’s run into a situation where there’s been something behind the vehicle where you can’t see it like, you know, toys, a trash can, actually even a person or a small child, or another vehicle, so it’s a great safety feature as far as avoiding those collisions,” said Matt Deakins, delivery coordinator at Frei Chevrolet in Marquette. “Another advantage to the rear-view camera is in a situation where somebody is towing, and when you’re backing up to the trailer, you can see the trailer hitch behind you to be able to line up to the trailer that you’re backing up to.”

Cameras aren’t just used for backing up. Forward collision warning is another video-based safety solution that is gaining in popularity.

“It gives you a warning when you’re following somebody and you get too close to the vehicle in front of you,” Deakins added. “There is also lane departure warning that uses the same cameras as the forward collision alert. It detects the lines that are painted on the road. If you’re drifting outside of the lane without using the turn signal, it does give you a warning.”

The NHTSA placed rear-view video systems on its list of Recommended Advanced Technology Features in late September. The agency hopes that mandating rear-visibility technology will help reduce the more than 200 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by back-over accidents.