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One piece of popular optional extra is becoming standard in new cars in US

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Posted May 31, 2018

When you‘re buying a brand new car you always find yourself with a long list of optional extras in your hands. You have to be careful what windows you are ticking, because every little move with your pen with blow up the price of your vehicle. But some comfort and safety features are so nice you don‘t mind paying extra. One of them definitely is reversing camera, but very soon US residents won‘t find such option in the list of optional extras.

Backup cameras can be found everywhere – from cheap pickup trucks to exotic supercars. Image credit: Matti Blume via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Backup cameras are not getting banned or anything like that. They are just becoming a part of standardized equipment in US. That means that all new cars sold in US will have to have reversing cameras fitted as standard. This may please some drivers, especially those who always find it hard to park. But there are some companies that are particularly happy about this decision, which has roots back in George W. Bush administration. It is insurance agencies, which can be happy that small parking lot accidents are going to decline.

Backup cameras can help avoiding low-impact collisions while reversing. When you are reversing into a parking spot you have to look at so many things at the same time. You have to keep an eye on the coming cars so that you would not cut them off, you have to watch your mirrors and, of course, the rear window. Some parking situations are trickier than others and you still have to park perfectly in the middle of your spot. Coming out of your spot can also be tricky, but a backup camera makes this job much easier. Sure, these slow-speed accidents only cause minors scratches and cracks in bumpers, but insurance companies spend a lot of money on those too. But drivers should be happy as well.

Reversing camera is just such a nice piece of technology it is simply worth having. It provides a lot of comfort and confidence. But US law makers are not going to stop here. It is predicted that the next piece of technology to become standard is automatic emergency braking. It is expected to be mandatory from 2022.

This does make us curious – can we expect to see similar regulations in Europe? As strange as it may sound, probably not. Europeans drive much smaller cars and a lot of them are extremely cheap. Manufacturers would have to be informed in advance and so far we never heard about such initiatives. Some cheap city cars now don’t have backup cameras even in their options’ list.

But car technology is leaping forward at incredible pace. In fact, no one is surprised to find a backup camera in a new car – they are already pretty common. Maybe someday automatic parking assist will become standardized as well, but what do these changes do to our driving skills? Are we becoming worse drivers due to technology?

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