Rear-View Cameras Shown to Reduce Crashes

Ever wish for a better view behind your vehicle before backing up?  It seems that many drivers want exactly that.  You have probably been in a vehicle equipped with a rear-view camera systems, and perhaps have given it an informal test- a lot of manufacturers are already installing such systems into their new vehicles.

But what’s been missing so far is whether rear-view camera systems can actually help drivers see better into the space behind their vehicles.  However, through a thorough testing process, AAA just determined that rear-view camera systems actually can help reduce crashes.  In fact, rear-view camera systems were found to improve rear visibility an average of 46 percent!

AAA evaluated 17 vehicles across 11 manufacturers with factory-installed and aftermarket rear-view camera systems, testing a variety of vehicle body styles to measure the reduction in blind-zone areas as a direct result of using a rear-view camera system.

More specific test results include:

  • A rear-view camera system did increase visibility, ranging from a 36 percent improvement in smaller sedans to a 75 percent improvement in hatchbacks

  • Rain, snow or slush can cloud the rear-view camera lens, delivering blurry imagery. Wiping the camera during the pre-drive inspection is a good habit that ensures the camera is ready to capture a clear image.

This information is all the more important because NHTSA will begin requiring manufacturers to equip their vehicles with rear-view image systems beginning in 2016.  It’s also important because some drivers may be tempted to rely exclusively on a rear-view camera system.  But although these systems dramatically improve rear-view visibility, they do not show 100 percent of the space behind the vehicle.  That is why AAA will continue recommending that drivers always walk behind their vehicle to visually confirm that there are no obstacles, and use the rear-view camera to confirm that nothing has entered the area immediately behind the vehicle since the driver’s walk-through inspection.

In sum, rear-view camera systems do appear to aid drivers in seeing into the space behind them, but such systems should be used only to supplement a driver’s direct, in-person viewing of the space behind, before getting into the vehicle.

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