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Make car reversing cameras compulsory – expert

All vehicles – new and old – should be required to have reversing cameras, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an active road safety campaigner, was commenting after the latest serious accident caused by a vehicle reversing over a young child.

“I’m sick of the authorities wringing their hands and acting as if these accidents were simply tragedies beyond anyone’s control. This is bullshit. There’s a simple technological fix: fit reversing cameras, so drivers can see what’s behind them.”

“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.”

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.

The government is investing $30 million on childproofing state house driveways, but this is a tragic misuse of road safety funds, says Matthew-Wilson.

“The problem is not merely that children wander into driveways, but that that person reversing down the driveway doesn’t see the child. This blindness is largely due to poor vehicle design.”

“You can hide a pram behind many modern cars and it may be completely invisible to the driver. The technology to solve this blindness exists here and now, and it’s very cheap.”

“A reversing camera provides far better protection than a driveway fence. Remember also, a reversing camera protects children wherever the vehicle is driven, not just in the driveway at home.”

Matthew-Wilson says that, for a fraction of the $30 million that the government is spending on fencing driveways, it could fit thousands of reversing cameras on poor people’s vehicles.

“Not only is the government’s policy very expensive, it will be limited in its effects and will take years to make any difference.”

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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