Car backup cameras to be mandatory by 2014

Optional feature to become standard

SAN ANTONIO - The Department of Transportation is expected to mandate that all 2014 vehicle models and beyond come equipped with backup camera technology.

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On Tuesday, 3-year-old Jay Anthony Villareal was killed when his grandfather accidentally backed over him in the 7600 block of Wood Bluff.

Villareal had gotten out of the house without the family knowing.

According to KidsandCars.org, 50 children are backed over by vehicles every week, with two of them suffering fatal injuries.

Earlier this year the Department of Transportation delayed a ruling which would require all auto manufacturers to make backup cameras standard on 2014 models and beyond.

That ruling is now expected by the end of 2012.

Most auto makers, like Ford, currently offer cameras as options on most vehicles.

"Ninety percent of rear-end accidents, according to Ford, happen going at speeds of five miles per hour or lower," said Matt Starnes, marketing director at Northside Ford.

Ford offers optional cameras on most of their vehicles and also equip them with sensors that emit signals six feet out in reverse, left and right of the vehicle.

"Once that object is within six feet of the sensors, they're going to start beeping throughout the vehicle and the speakers," said Starnes. "If you're listening to music, it'll cut the music off and the closer you get the faster it beeps and it will eventually, once you're within about 10 inches of the object, come to a solid tone."

Auto industry experts believe the DOT mandate will add an average of $200 to the cost of all vehicles to include the cameras.

For a list of recent stories Charles Gonzalez has done, click here.


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