Backup camera law in automobiles delayed

A rule that would require backup cameras in new cars sold in the U.S. is being delayed until 2015 as regulators consider giving incentives in their safety ratings to vehicles containing that technology.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who plans to step down once his replacement is confirmed, announced the delay today in a letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

More analysis of the rule's cost, which the agency had said would be $2.7 billion or as much as $18 million per life saved, is necessary before issuing the mandate, LaHood said in the letter. The agency had previously delayed the rule three times, most recently missing a Dec. 31 deadline.

Automakers have complained about the rule's cost and that as proposed it would apply to all vehicles, while they say it makes sense only for larger ones.

"Automakers are providing cameras in cars today for greater vision and for new driver assists, and consumers should decide how best to spend their safety dollars on these technologies," said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. "This is a decision for consumers."

The Washington-based group counts General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. among its members.

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