Is it a Law That Cars have Backup Cameras?

February 28, 2023 - 2:24 pm - 4 min read

Overview of Backup Cameras and Their Importance

Backup cameras are special cameras in vehicles that show images of what is behind the car which helps the driver to have a better view when reversing. They have become a staple in modern automobile technology and aided numerous drivers in preventing unnecessary collisions. Backup cameras make it easier for drivers to back up accurately and prevent accidents by showing the driver what is behind, either through the rearview mirror, a screen installed in the dashboard or a separate screen that is specifically for the camera. The average cost of getting a backup camera installed is about $200, however, some car models come with factory installed backup cameras. In this article, we will be looking into whether there’s a law that requires all vehicles to have backup cameras.

The Requirement for Backup Cameras in Vehicles

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the federal agency in charge of regulating the safety of road vehicles in the USA. On March 31, 2014, the agency announced that it had finalized the rule that required all vehicles that weigh under 10,000 pounds to come equipped with backup cameras. This rule concentrated on three different aspects of vehicle safety: rearview visibility, technology, and approaches to enhancing field of vision. The regulation officially took effect in May 2018, giving manufacturers and automakers sufficient time to adopt and integrate the requisite technology in new models of vehicles.

The Exceptions to the Rule

The rule on backup cameras is not without its exceptions. According to the NHTSA, the regulation only applies to new automobiles weighing less than 10,000 pounds that are produced in the manufacturing year 2019 and beyond. Thus, vehicles produced before May 2018 may not have backup cameras, even if they were manufactured recently. Moreover, to protect passenger privacy, the regulation doesn’t require that the backup camera feed be displayed on the dashboard if the vehicle has an automated navigational device showing the backup feed (Citations).

Additionally, several other exemptions apply to the NHTSA rule on backup cameras. Large trucks or buses over 10,000 pounds, motorcycles, and scooters are exempted from the rule because these vehicles have unique visibility challenges, making backup cameras less useful. Finally, some of the newest alternative fuel and electric vehicles are also deemed exempt since they are quieter and have less danger of striking pedestrians.

The Importance of Backup Cameras in Preventing Collisions

The rule on backup cameras was enacted to minimize the high number of accidents, injuries, and deaths caused by cars reversing. It is worth noting that backup cameras have proven to be efficient safety devices and can help reduce the number of “back-over accidents” by up to 70%. A back-over accident is a collision in which a vehicle reverses and strikes an individual behind the vehicle who is usually a toddler, smaller child or elderly. It has been noted that young children and older people are most at risk of injury or death in a back-over accident as they are often out of the sightline of the driver. Backup cameras have saved countless lives so far, and they continue to do so by ensuring that drivers can see everything behind their cars, enhancing safe driving when reversing.


In conclusion, backup cameras are essential safety devices in modern vehicles, and their use in automobiles is gradually becoming a standard. They offer an extra layer of safety when reversing, and they have been shown even to save lives on the roads. While current federal laws mandate that all new vehicles weighing under 10,000 pounds require a backup camera, some cars that were produced before May 2018 may not come with a backup camera. However, the rule about backup cameras has seen certain exemptions, and some vehicles are not required to come equipped with backup cameras due to reasons such as vehicle weight, size or privacy concerns. Ultimately, the safety benefits of backup cameras will undoubtedly lead to laws to mandate and standardize their use across all types of vehicles in the near future.

Semantic Keywords: backup cameras, safety, national highway traffic safety administration (NHTSA), regulation, driving safety.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *