RACV is calling on all vehicle manufacturers to fit reversing cameras as standard equipment in all new vehicles.
The call coincides with the release of RACV’s 2015 Reversing Visibility Index which tested 260 vehicles on a scale of zero-to-five stars, with a rating of five indicating better reversing visibility than all other vehicles.
The testing took into account the visible area and distance across the rear of a vehicle and whether a camera and sensors have been installed.
RACV Manager Vehicle Engineering, Michael Case said of the 260 vehicles tested, 139 scored the full five-star rating.
All vehicles that scored the five star rating had reversing cameras.
“This year 53 per cent of vehicles tested scored five stars compared with 37 per cent in 2013.
“The findings were strongly supported by the upturn in manufacturers featuring reversing cameras as standard or optional but we would still like to see all vehicles have cameras included as standard.
“Safety is the highest priority and while reversing cameras can save lives, this sort of technology is not a standalone guarantee.
“Reversing cameras are just one layer of protection. Active supervision around vehicles is the number one priority and adults need to know where children are at all times.”
Mr Case said the Reversing Visibility Index found that, despite a common perception that rear visibility from SUVs is poor, of the 69 SUVs tested, 48 were given a five-star visibility rating.
“The vehicles that offer the most limited rear visibility were again in the commercial range as well as the small and small-to-medium cars,” Mr Case said.
“While three commercial vehicles scored a five star rating, generally they still fall short in the areas of safety and in smaller cars the window design appears to favour smaller windows, which does reduce driver visibility.”
Mr Case said Federal Government data shows that on average, seven children are killed and 60 are seriously injured each year across Australia, after being hit or run over by a motor vehicle.
“Even if your car has parking sensors or a video camera fitted, make sure you also check the rear-view mirror, look over your shoulder before reversing and always ensure that children are not near a moving vehicle.”
Mr Case advised anyone in the market for a new car, to use the 2015 Reversing Visibility Index to choose a model with better rear visibility.
He said parents who were not ready to upgrade their car could consider purchasing a reversing camera and having it retro-fitted, because a properly installed camera could improve the visibility of the car to a five-star standard.
To see RACV’s full 2015 Reversing Visibility Index go to: www.racv.com.au/reversing