COLUMBIA, Mo. - Every year, 17,000 people are injured when drivers back over them.
The U.S. Department of Transportation is recommending all new vehicles to have rearview cameras.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said Tuesday it will add the rearview video systems to its list of recommended features under its New Car Assessment Program, designed to encourage car manufacturers to improve vehicle safety.
But safety groups called the action a stalling tactic, saying the agency is dragging its feet in fulfilling a congressionally imposed deadline to issue a rule on rear visibility.
Passed in 2008, the law had a 2011 deadline. The regulation is now two and a half years overdue.
Back-up cameras or sensors allow drivers to see behind them, increasing the safety of the vehicle. When drivers are backing up, there could be anything behind the car - a person, child or just a garbage can.
In Columbia, police records show there have been three accidents involving people being hit by a car backing up since Jan. 2010.
"We have a low amount of pedestrian accidents and I think that's in due to the pedestrians looking out for cars, and the people in the cars looking for pedestrians," said Sgt. Joe Bernhard of the Columbia Police Department.
Local car dealerships say more customers are coming in wanting the added feature of a rear view camera.
"The idea of a rear view camera is to give the occupant or the driver of the vehicle the ability to completely see what's behind them and a perspective to allow them avoid any obstacles they might run into," Bob McCosh Chevrolet salesman Dorian Brownlee said.
A small camera or sensors are mounted on the back of the vehicle allowing a driver to see what is behind them.
Even turning, the grid is there to help make backing up safer.
"If there is anyone crossing your path behind the vehicle you normally wouldn't see - dogs, children heaven forbid, it allows them to see those in real time and apply the breaks before any real damage is done," Brownlee said.
Brownlee says most car makers offer the option and with its popularity, expects it to become mandatory soon, what some safety groups want.
This government recommendation was also released at same time two parents decided to sue the U.S. Department of Transportation. Both of them backed over their children.
Their lawsuit is asking the court to make the cameras mandatory within 90 days.
A group in Kansas City is filing their own lawsuit to make rear-view cameras mandatory.
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