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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the US has mandated that every new car must come standard with a rear-view camera by May 1, 2018. The rule was passed on Monday after several years of delays, and aims to reduce the number of pedestrians backed over.

According to NHTSA, about 210 people are killed and 15,000 injured every year in accidents caused by cars reversing into them, the majority of them children and elderly adults who are too short to be seen over the rear windscreen. The authority claims that 58 to 69 of these people each year could be saved through the use of these cameras.

The ruling will be enforced on all vehicles – including lorries and buses – weighing under 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg), and the cameras must be able to show a 10-foot by 20-foot (three-metre by six-metre) area directly behind the car. These cameras also have to meet other requirements including image size, linger time, response time, durability, and deactivation.

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The mandate will be applied in stages, with 10% of cars in every manufacturer’s lineup by 2016 required to be fitted with rear-view cameras, and 40% by 2017, although low-volume manufacturers are currently exempt. The cameras are expected to cost manufacturers between $43 to $45 (RM140 to RM147) per unit for cars already fitted with a suitable display, and $132 to $142 (RM431 to RM464) for those without one.

All in, the move is set to cost between $546 million and $640 million (RM1.7 billion to RM2.1 billion) when it comes into effect – a cost that for many would be difficult to swallow, but undoubtedly worth it for those who have lost their loved ones through such incidents.