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Make car reversing cameras compulsory – expert

Make car reversing cameras compulsory – expert

All new cars should be required to have reversing cameras and parking sensors, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an active road safety campaigner, was commenting after the latest driveway death, in which a family vehicle hit and killed a two-year-old boy.

“Blaming the driver is not very constructive. Major overseas studies show that poor vehicle design is a big factor in driveway accidents of this kind.”

“A small child may be invisible to the driver of a reversing vehicle, even if the driver looks in all three mirrors. The safest solution is a reversing camera, which shows the driver what’s behind his vehicle. Reversing cameras are now dirt cheap, yet they’re not fitted on many new vehicles, which is simply shameful.”

Matthew-Wilson claims that car manufacturers deliberately leave reversing cameras and parking sensors –which beep when the vehicle is approaching solid objects – off cheaper models in order to enhance the value of more expensive models.

“Car dealers tend to think of reversing cameras as desirable accessories that can be sold at extra profit. This is totally unacceptable. Reversing cameras are a vital safety feature. They should be required on all new cars.”

New Zealand has one of the worst rates of children being killed by cars on driveways. An average of five children a year die on driveways and a child is seriously injured about every two weeks.

Matthew-Wilson says the government should make interest-free loans available to poorer families so that they can retrofit reversing cameras and parking sensors to the family vehicle.

“You can buy a reversing camera for less than the cost of a cellphone. However, a poorer family will often have the choice between paying the rent and fitting a reversing camera. Therefore the reversing camera doesn’t get fitted and a child gets killed. However, if the government could provide an interest-free loan, then the poorer family would probably jump at the opportunity, with little cost to the taxpayer, because this is a loan, not a handout.”

Matthew-Wilson advises that reversing cameras and parking sensors work best when installed together. He explains how his own reversing camera and parking sensors may have saved a child's life:

“I was reversing out of a parking bay at a supermarket. Like all good drivers I checked my three rear mirrors. Just as I began to reverse, a sudden beep warned me that a small child was running straight past the rear of my car. He appeared from nowhere, running across the reversing camera screen, then disappeared past the vehicle. He was too short to show up in my rear view mirror. If I had not had a reversing camera and parking sensors fitted, I could easily have reversed straight over this child.”


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