A recent study by iSeeCars.com found that less than 9 percent of vehicles on the road today have a back-up camera system installed. However, they predict that about 31 percent of vehicles will have a
back-up camera by 2018.
The study was prompted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent ruling that back-up cameras or “rear visibility technology” will need to be installed by manufacturers for all new vehicles under 10,000 pounds built in or after May 2018. In the study, iSeeCars.com analyzed more than 20 million used vehicles for sale last year with model years ranging from 1981 to 2013.
“It will be a long while before all vehicles on the road are equipped with a rear-view camera,” said Phong Ly, CEO and co-founder of iSeeCars.com. “According to NHTSA estimates, it could take until 2054 to replace the whole vehicle fleet.”
The percentage of vehicles with a back-up camera has been increasing with each model year. For example, in model year 2006, just a little more than 2 percent of vehicles had back-up cameras. Fast-forward to model year 2013, and 30.4 percent of those vehicles had them installed. Rear-view cameras were non-existent in production vehicles until 2003, when the Acura MDX made it a standard feature in one of the styles. Here are model years 2003-2013 and the percentage of vehicles that came out that year with a back-up camera as a standard feature:
2013 – 30.4%
2012 – 15.7%
2011 – 15.7%
2010 – 10.6%
2009 - 5.4%
2008 - 3.4%
2007 - 2.8%
2006 - 2.2%
2005 - 0.6%
2004 - 0.3%
2003 - 0.2%
“The increase in back-up cameras each year could be attributed to a combination of manufacturers seeing it as a differentiating safety feature, and perhaps the cost of display and cameras were becoming less expensive,” Ly said.
iSeeCars.com found that back-up cameras are a standard feature in a higher percentage of larger vehicles, speculating that this is due to larger vehicles being higher off the ground, or because there is more distance from the driver to the back of the vehicle. About 17 percent of minivans and SUVs have rearview cameras, while less than 5 percent of sedans have them and hatchbacks significantly less. Only about 4 percent of pickup trucks are equipped with back-up camera systems as a standard feature.
According to iSeeCars.com, back-up cameras today are seen by some as more of an extravagance than a safety feature, which is why they’re equipped in mostly luxury car brands. Nine out of the top 10 brands with the highest percentage of its vehicles with back-up cameras are all luxury brands, including Infiniti, Cadillac, Land Rover and Audi. Ram is the only non-luxury brand in the top 10 list, but coming in 2015, Honda and Acura will be among the first to offer backup cameras standard on all models. This is a trend, iSeeCars.com says, that will be mirrored by other automakers as the May 2018 deadline approaches.