Mandatory Back-up Cameras Coming in 2018

The first back-up camera in a vehicle was shown at General Motors' Autorama event, in the 1956 Buick Centurion concept car. Toyota's 1991 Soarer was the first production model with a rearview camera, but this feature didn't make it into the similar Lexus SC sold in North America. Nissan's upscale brand, Infiniti was first to bring the feature to this continent, as an option in its 2002 Q45 luxury sedan.

Transport Canada has posted their plans to make back-up cameras mandatory in all new cars and light-trucks beginning in May of 2018. The plan follows in the steps of US regulations passed in 2014, which require the cameras for 2018.

While most new vehicles have rear parking sensors or cameras already available, they frequently are only on higher-specification, higher cost trim levels. The new rules covering rear visibility would bring the safety feature to nearly every vehicle built. The change applies to cars, trucks under 4,536 kg gross vehicle weight rating, and even to three-wheeled vehicles like trikes and low-speed vehicles like golf carts. Fortunately, trikes and low-speed vehicles shouldn’t actually need a camera, as long as rear visibility meets the requirements of the new rules.

Transport Canada used the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) research on back-up collisions which showed that parking sensors, which beep to alert the driver of objects, were not quick enough to respond, or sufficiently reliable in their warnings. For that reason, NHTSA ordered cameras for use in the US and Canada is following suit. The requirement will be for all cars and light trucks manufactured after May 1, 2018.

From 2004 to 2009, there were an estimated 27 fatalities and 1,558 injuries every year in Canada caused by vehicles reversing. The new cameras are expected to help reduce this significantly. Transport Canada says that the numbers are estimates, because since “a significant proportion of back-over collisions occur off-road (i.e. parking lots, driveways and private roads) and that off-road collisions are not part of the National Collision Database, it was difficult to get exact number of casualties that result from such collisions.”

The other main driver for the change is regulatory parity with the US market. Transport Canada said in the proposal that “the objective of this proposal is to align the Canadian and United States safety regulations, to provide Canadians with the same level of protection under the law related to back-over crashes offered to residents of the United States and to satisfy vehicle manufacturers’ call to eliminate regulatory differences between Canada and the United States.” Differing regulations between the two markets has been brought up in the past as causing higher prices for cars in Canada.

Now that the regulations have been posted in the Canada Gazette, there will be a 75-day comment period for feedback from the public and industry.

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Evan Williams

Evan Williams

Evan is based in Halifax, and has been a car nut for as long as anyone can remember. He autocrosses, does lapping days and TSD rallies, breaks cars and then fixes them again.
  • Peter de Boer

    Another unnecessary

    I wonder how those 27 fatalities were caused, I would guess the only way you can get enough force from an impact is by reversing into moving traffic which a camera would only distract you from watching.

    Regulatory parity making vehicles less expensive makes sense only if it’s less equipment. It can only be less because the cost to put a plastic plate where the screen would be would have to be lower than a whole camera and display system. I think this argument was used because Canada requiring daytime driving lights makes vehicles more expensive in Canada than the US. The same is not true if you put less equipment in a Canadian car.

  • Brian Teoh

    I doubt that parking sensors are not responding quick enough. A back up camera could just distract people and lower their awareness to their surroundings, this is really unnecessary.

  • david

    So ridiculous. 27 fatalities? And this will solve that? keep the stats coming Canada. As we continue to fix or address the symptoms in automobile accidents, trying to make it easier to stay fixed in your seat without turning your head or body to actually drive your car. The correct way to back up, is to turn around in your seat so you can view everything both behind you, and peripherally. You do not have to wear your seatbelt while doing this, as per the drivers manual (as it is restrictive) but as soon as you are driving forward again, of course you should. How can looking thru a camera tunnel, only focusing on the video display be a better solution to your head up, and being able to turn around and view the entire scene. You dont even see whats in front of you while your turn your wheel and sweep over the curb, into the car beside you or run over something more serious. I thought this would be going the other way. They should be banned as you cannot see the entire picture through a pigeon hole camera lens. Lane departure warnings are another issue where people are so distracted on their phones, displays, and the myriad of dashboard functions, we have to protect them from driving off the road. Once again we have forgotten the dangers of not paying attention to just driving. Whats wrong with driving your car! Yeh I drive a car and ride a motorcycle, and drivers are increasingly becoming more and more distracted. Some cars also offer a curb view when you are turning at an intersection. What? I guess you would have to forget you just passed the cyclist and are turning in front of them. Another distraction is just what we need drivers to have. God forbid the driver actually looks around before turning. Should be able to get rid of the rear view mirror soon!! awesome. maybe some people just cant drive! You cant fix stupid.

  • Jim

    Cameras everywhere in and around a vehicle, including one focused solely on the driver. Hard drives cannot be erased in the event of an accident or other collisions. Make the driver accountable for lazy and dangerous driving habits. No monitors required. Included on the hard drives are blinker use, light use, and vehicle speed. Driving is not a right. It is an earned privilege. Dangerous drivers need to correct their habits or lose their licenses. Simple. And no. It is not an invasion of privacy. Driving is in public places so there is no expectation of privacy.

  • Ulfredsson The Vanquisher

    I do this crazy thing where I look behind me and keep checking my mirrors. Reverse camera is decent but it still doesn’t cover peripheral like swinging my head around does.

    All these “safety” features are just degrading peoples ability to drive and be aware of his/her surroundings. Blind spot indicators are unreliable, I’ve personally been beside cars that have the bsi not trigger sometimes… Of course the driver decides they would like to occupy the same space I do and don’t check their blind spot.

    It’s enforcing bad habits and promotes lazy, dangerous driving. Get rid of them.

  • pyro404

    That’s one way to drive up the cost of new vehicles… Base trim packages will cost more and they will jack up the cost of higher trims to maintain their pricing scheme.

    The last thing Canada needs is more laws. Time to give the liberals, Conservatives and NDP the boot. There are other options.

  • kobiemc

    You know, I think this whole thing is ridiculous. I’ve seen ot first hand, a kid wizzing by and the person backing up staring at their dash (backup cam) didn’t see them until it would have been too late. The kid went around the truck as it was backing up. The persons reaction time was awful. If they had looked like you’re supposed to, they would have seen the kid coming. Watch the numbers of parking lot bumps and such go up because people won’t look even though it says right as you go into reverse to CHECK YOUR SURROUNDINGS.