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Evaluating Bias in Research

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Should all cars be required to have backup cameras?
Tanard Hill
Professor Christian Faught
English 215
March 13th, 2016

The government, in April 2014 passed a law that all cars built new after May 2016 must have backup cameras. Have backup cameras reduced accidental deaths? The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHITSA) reports that “58 to 69 lives are expected to be saved each year once the entire on-road vehicle fleet is equipped with rear visibility systems.” USA Today’s website listed an article written by Chris Woodyard (2015) who investigated that many automakers, responding to consumer demand, have gotten ahead of the regulation by putting standard or optional cameras on new models as they are redesigned, even on their smallest, most economical cars. Vehicles should not be required to have a backup camera because it is not always as clear of a picture as you may think, especially during weather and foggy days. (Woodyard, 2015 Administration, 2014). The backup cameras fog up in a little rain or any other precipitation, which causes the backup camera to be insufficient to use. Although having back up cameras has reduced the accidents by a large percentage; once it is completely abolished in 2018; will drivers attempt to only use the backup camera without the notion of looking behind them? In a 2010 report, the DOT's NHTSA said, “that each year 210 people die and 15,000 are injured in light-vehicle backup incidents, with about 31% of the deaths among kids under age 5 and 26% adults over 70. Mounting evidence shows that rearview cameras aid in avoiding accidents that involve backing into an object or—worse—a child invisible from the driver’s seat.” (Woodyard, 2015).
The graph is a projection of how many lives will be saved after the backup camera law is completely mandated in 2018.
The graph is a projection of how many lives will be saved after the backup camera law is completely mandated in 2018.

According to (NHTSA), in 2005, if all cars had rearview cameras, about 60 lives a year could be saved in the U.S. The National Highway Safety Administration needs to revisit the backup camera law requirement's in its’ entirety. Car enthusiasts and car manufacturers would benefit from further testing and implementation of a de-froster and sound components. Even though, the backup camera save lives, is it really fool proof? Saving lives should be treated like national security. Car consumers, may want to choose wisely when choosing a car which includes the backup camera feature. Congress passes a lot of laws, but do they actually take the time to join in the experiments themselves to accurately justify that what they are reading is full-proof to pass a law requiring it? Many congressmen and women fight for causes they feel most important about, but how many actually take part in the experimentation? Congress shouldn’t make decision based upon thoughts and partial statistics of the stability of having a backup camera that doesn't work in inclement weather or foggy conditions. (Report 2015). Doug DeMuro reports, "During the day, you can see approximately 80 percent of what’s behind you, except there are no lines to judge anything by, so you have no idea if you’re parked on close to the vehicle behind you, or how many feet you are away from it. And then at night, it’s even worse: the backup camera is so poorly lit that it looks like the entire thing is filming the center of a trash bag" (2015). There are some flaws to the backup camera. The federal government mandates these things go on vehicles, however; it does not mandate that the vehicle prices stay the same. Automakers take advantage of this by installing a “standard” backup camera, and then jacking up the price of each vehicle, even though it costs them no more than $10.00 to install the backup camera. (DeMuro, 2015). An article on the automotive news website explains backup cameras and their complexity. What is the life expectancy of the camera mandated by the government? Will the camera eventually fail? The backup camera is not a feature that will last forever. Car consumers and drivers will eventually have to replace and or resort to looking behind themselves to look into the rear of their vehicles. (Autonews, 2015). End the problem through further testing. Michelle V. Rafter suggests 8 things you should know about back up cameras. Seven of the need to know things are a result of the current push to cut down on the accidents which is great, however; one opposes. Number six states,
"Grime, weather and time of day can affect how a camera functions. In heavy rain or snow, auto company representatives and aftermarket camera sellers suggest checking before you drive off to make sure the lens isn't obscured. Even though back-up cameras can help prevent accidents, automakers and retailers warn drivers not to rely on them completely. Drivers should continue checking side and rearview mirrors, and look over their shoulder to see what's in back of them. There are certainly sometimes conditions where performance of the system might be not as optimal as in other conditions."
Other avid drivers with back up cameras believe that the required car backup camera law needs amending. Back up cameras would be more sufficient if it had a de-froster and a sound motion sensor. This will prove to aid and put an end the problem instead of partially fixing it. (Wooyard, 2015; Administration 2014; Rafter, M. V. 2014)
When driving a car with a backup camera there are many times in inclement weather that the backup cameras do not work correctly. If the government re-test’s the way in which the cameras could de-frost themselves or work during inclement weather this would save the lost percentage of the unsaved lives. Through research we learn that they save some lives; instead of saving all lives. All lives are precious to be saved not some. Advantages are higher averages of lives saved and less car accidents that involved someone backing into something or a person, which is greater in value that only saving some of the lives that were taken by its current use.
Another advantage would help other modes of transportation have better information to install backup cameras. For example: What if airplanes or city buses were mandated to have backup cameras with the current back up standards? They would still have the current problems cars occur during weather when they are unable to use the camera and would have to rely on the old way reversing their transports, which would make the installation of backup cameras insufficient. But if the government further studies all the aspects of the cameras and possibly a sound sensors and defrost capabilities this should resolved the major problem with the unclear picture that the camera gives.
Lastly, the car consumers would feel more encouraged to use a backup camera that works one hundred percent of the time instead of partially. Saving lives is the main goal isn’t it? The more lives saved; the less accidents had; will show the government and the consumers that it is possible to abolish the problem instead of putting a band aid on it and only saving some lives.
There are many disadvantages of not having a backup camera, but using basic backup cameras that are design to fail is not sufficient for drivers or accident victims. The backup camera does provide increased safety; however, it has downfalls. Tunnel vision which causes drivers to not use rearview or other mirrors is a drawback that we fail to think about. When people only rely on the backup camera what will they do when it doesn’t work? This could cause a drop in the recorded lives saved after the mandated laws. This may also make car consumers/drivers practice the tendency to focus exclusively on a single or limited goal or point of view. This will lead to peripheral vision problems which means that you won’t have normal, wide-angled range of vision; even though, your central vision may be fine. Drivers will not look side from side because of tunnel vision. (Status Report, 2014).
Another drawback is that the backup the camera doesn’t rotate. It does not allow the entire area to be scanned in which something can appear too fast for the driver to react to. If reducing the chances of bumping against other cars, lamp posts, pedestrians or any other obstruction is the goal; why aren’t we making the necessary steps to abolish the problem completely? Drivers an especially first-time driver will not develop the skills of backing using the side view mirrors. Mandated that all new drivers should have to take driving school; learning without the backup camera. Further research into constructing camera that rotates is warranted.

Car enthusiasts and consumer propose to start a campaign to amend the law. They also believe that the laws regarding backup cameras and its’ notion of being a full proof system needs to be brought to someone's attention. Reinvestigating back up cameras, using statistics of the accounted lives saved may aid in ending fatalities. How efficient the camera is without a de-froster and sound motion sensor, should be our concern. So we can see there are benefits and drawbacks to backup cameras, but are you all for it, or do you not have no other choice but to follow the insufficient guidelines or law set into place by the government?

Reference Page
Administration, N. H. (2014). Backup Cameras and Its' Safety. National Highway and Safety Administration. http://www.autonews.com. (2016, March 14). Retrieved from http://www.autonews.com: http://www.autonews.com/article/20140607/OEM11/306099999/a-push-to-adjust-backup-cameras
DeMuro, D. (2015, May 08). The truth about cars. Retrieved from http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/qotd-backup-cameras-really-mandated/
Rafter, M. V. (2014, May 19). 8 things you need to know about backup cameras. Retrieved from http://www.edmunds.com/: http://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/8-things-you-need-to-know-about-back-up-cameras.html
Report, C. (2015, August 10). Consumer Report. Retrieved from Consumer Report: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/08/how-to-add-a-backup-camera-to-your-car/index.htm
Status Report Volume 9. (2014, March 14). www.iihs.org. Retrieved from www.iihs.org: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/preventing-driveway-tragedies-rear-cameras-help-drivers-see-behind-them
Woodyard, C. (2015, January). USA TODAY. Retrieved from USA TODAY: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/03/31/nhtsa-rear-view-cameras/7114531/

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