Do backup cameras really help prevent accidents?

If you have a backup camera on your car, you likely understand how helpful it can be. It makes it easier to parallel park, for instance, or just to back out of your own driveway.

But these cameras have been mandated on all new vehicles since 2018. The idea is that they make the roads much safer. Is this true, and how do they actually help?

Driving in reverse has a high accident rate

Odds are that you don’t drive in reverse for much of the time that you’re on the road. You may only spend 1% of your time backing up.

However, studies have repeatedly found that people crash at a much higher rate when driving in reverse. That doesn’t mean that more accidents happen this way, but just that the number that does is disproportionate to the number of miles people drive while backing up.

In this sense, backup cameras can make driving vastly safer. They help to avoid pedestrian accidents in parking lots and on sidewalks. They particularly help children, who can be harder to see. They can even prevent collisions between vehicles in parking lots, which could cause serious injuries even though they happen at a low speed.

Backup cameras are not a replacement for using your mirrors and turning to check your blind spots when driving in reverse. But it is clear that they can help to reduce the crash rate, which can save lives and prevent injuries. 

Nothing guarantees your safety

It is certainly encouraging to read about the new types of automotive technology and how they can keep you safe. But there’s nothing that guarantees you won’t be injured when another driver makes a mistake, so be sure you also know about your legal options if that should happen to you.