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NHTSA Puts Vehicle Rear Camera Requirement on the Back Burner – For Now

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on March 20, 2012

Seattle Auto SafetyThe U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently decided to table a plan to require rear cameras in new vehicles built in 2014 or later model years, according to a recent article in USA Politics Today. The delay was called after automakers raised concerns about the cost of installing rear cameras and the possible increases in accidents due to driver distraction that the technology might cause.

The requirement that NHTSA develop a regulation mandating rear cameras on all vehicles was passed by Congress in 2007. The bill specified that by 2014, the NHTSA needed to have regulations in place explaining to automakers what sorts of cameras were required, where they should be placed, and how the driver should have access to the information. These regulations would be a floor, not a ceiling; automakers would have to meet their minimum requirements, but could install higher-quality equipment on some vehicles if they wished. Read the rest »

Seattle Study to Examine Driver Safety

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on November 16, 2011

A Seattle research firm will soon be collecting data on the safety habits of motor vehicle drivers in the Puget Sound area. The company, Battelle, will work in conjunction with the federal government to contribute to a bigger study that will include traffic safety data from other areas across the country, including New York, North Carolina, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida. The study’s focus will be on driving safety.

The national endeavor is being hailed by some as the most in-depth study on driver behavior ever done, according to reporting by The Herald. In Seattle and the Puget area, Battelle is looking for 3,100 drivers (ages 16 to 76) to participate (each will be paid $500), which entails allowing the data firm to install four different electronic devices that monitor and record a person’s driving behavior over the course of a year. The four devices in the study will measure a car’s proximity to other vehicles, record visuals from the driver’s perspective from several directions, and monitor certain types of vehicle activity via the onboard computer system. A representative told The Herald that the research will not only target what causes accidents but also what prevents them on both macro and micro levels. The research will be the second in history conducted under the Strategic Highway Research Program; the first was completed in the 1960s. Read the rest »

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