Buick joins list of brands making backup cameras standard before U.S. deadline

Edmunds.com said recently that 299 car and truck models on sale in the United States have standard or optional rearview cameras, up sharply from 141 in 2009.

General Motors’ Buick brand, following others in getting ahead of a new U.S. regulatory requirement, said today it will make backup cameras standard on all 2015 models.

The new feature comes after the U.S. Department of Transportation approved federal rear visibility standards March 31, mandating backup cameras in all new vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds by 2018.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the main lobbying group for automakers in Washington, in a statement said the industry has embraced the technology, and the cameras are offered as standard or optional features in two-thirds of the 50 top-selling vehicles in the United States. “Rear backup cameras have become like power windows and air conditioning,” Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said in Buick’s press release. “While they’re not standard on every car, yet, it’s rare to operate a new vehicle without them.”

In the release, Buick cited a 2013 University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study that found that cars with backup cameras have a notably lower rate of backup crashes.

According to the study, about 292 people are killed and 18,000 injured in backup crashes annually. The institute found that backup cameras can reduce vehicle blind spots by about 90 percent.

“The current Buick lineup holds many safety accolades, but we are always pushing to be at the forefront with our vehicles being among the safest available,” Duncan Aldred, U.S. vice president of Buick and GMC, said in the statement.

Other brands

Buick is following the lead of at least three other major auto brands -- Infiniti, Honda and Acura -- that have announced plans to make the technology standard in the United States.

Infiniti U.S. spokesman Kyle Bazemore said the backup camera already comes standard in all Infiniti vehicles. It became standard for the 2013 model year, he said.

Honda tweeted Tuesday morning that all 2014 Honda and Acura models included backup cameras. The company’s Web site features the cameras on its safety page.

“Even though no regulation requires it, we’ve made rearview backup cameras standard on nearly 100 percent of all new Honda and Acura vehicles,” the Web site states.

Gabe Nelson contributed to this report.

You can reach Katie Burke at kburke@crain.com -- Follow Katie on Twitter: @KatieGBurke

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