Rearview cameras to become mandatory starting next May

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The government will require automakers to install rearview cameras on their vehicles to aid drivers in checking behind them when their car is backing up.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry on June 9 revised the safety standards that regulate equipment for vehicles. The revision will be applied to new models that will be released in or after May next year, and will later be extended to new vehicles of current models.

In addition to rearview cameras, ultrasonic systems, which detect obstacles behind a car and notify the driver, will also be a mandatory vehicle requirement. The use of regular rearview mirrors will also be permitted.

The cameras and mirrors must be able to check an area of the same width as the vehicle’s body and scan a range of 0.3 to 3.5 meters from the tail end of the vehicle. Also, the detection system must cover a range of 0.2 to 1 meter from the tail.

According to statistics from the Institute for Traffic Accident Research and Data Analysis, there were 16,400 traffic accidents last year in which drivers of vehicles in reverse had the highest percentage of negligence among parties involved in vehicular accidents. Of them, 56 were fatal accidents.

According to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, 56.9% of passenger vehicles shipped from automakers in 2019 were equipped with a rearview camera. The ministry aims to promote accident prevention by making the hardware mandatory.

The revised safety standards also require the installation of a device that calculates and records the actual fuel consumption. This revision will be gradually applied to new models starting in October 2024.