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Holiday Gift Ideas for Drivers: Day 1

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HDE E336 waterproof rear vehicle backup camera with 170 degree viewing angle, courtesy

HDE E336 waterproof rear vehicle backup camera with 170 degree viewing angle, courtesy

With holiday gift-shopping time upon us, this blog is thinking about people on the road, whether they be teens or older, whether they drive a car or commercial vehicle, or ride a motorcycle or bike. Starting today, we will periodically suggest gift ideas from various sources, always with an emphasis on road safety.

Aftermarket Backup Cameras

Consumer Reports recommends giving a backup camera as a gift to any driver whose car does not already have one. As Michelle V. Rafter reported for Edmunds earlier this year, in one study, nearly 57% of drivers tested using backup cameras avoided backing into an object that was placed behind their vehicle when they were not looking:

By contrast, 100 percent of drivers in the IIHS study who were operating vehicles without back-up cameras or audible sensors ran over a child-size stationary object that had been surreptitiously placed behind them, according to David Zuby, chief research officer at the IIHS vehicle research center in Ruckersville, Virginia.

At the recent Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) in Las Vegas, the companies showing add-on rear camera systems included Advent, Audiovox, Brandmotion, and Rosen, Consumer Reports writes. The styles vary, with some working via a screen mounted on the rearview mirror, and others having their own screens or working in conjunction with a car’s built-in screen. The prices also vary, ranging from around $100 to as much as $500, Consumer Reports writes, adding that it’s a good idea to pay $100 to $150 extra for professional installation.

As this blog has written, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a regulation last March requiring all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds to have rear-view monitoring systems by May 2018. The rule will require the systems to show a 10-by-20-foot area directly behind the vehicle, Rafter writes. The NHTSA also requires that the new systems in 2018 display the rear image to the driver no more than two seconds after they place the car into reverse gear, she adds. Some systems take longer than two seconds to show the rear view. The rule mandates that 10% of new vehicles have the equipment by May 1, 2016, 40% by May 1, 2017, and all models by May 1, 2018, Rafter writes.

With after-market, add-on backup cameras, the images of the area behind the vehicle are shown on a dashboard-mounted monitor and a receiver that is plugged into the auxiliary power, Rafter writes. Current rearview cameras use either narrow or wide fish-eye lenses to capture views of a larger area, she notes.

Rafter writes that such retailers as CarToys, Best Buy and sell add-on rear-view cameras for less than $15 “for a bottom-of-the-line stand-alone camera for vehicles that have existing in-dash displays.” A setup that includes a camera, transmitter, and display can cost as much as $300. It is not hard to install a backup camera on a car that lacks one, Rafter writes. Some need only a screwdriver, while others require a drill to attach the camera into a rear bumper cover, she writes.


My daughter and I first consulted with Dan Rosen after a very serious auto accident. Dan had several phone conferences with me, and Tracie was available whenever I called. We would recommend personal injury attorney Dan Rosen to anyone!
Sally from Denver, Colorado

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