The federal government has issued a rule mandating that new vehicles must be equipped with rearview cameras beginning in 2018.

Rear view camera screen (Jeep)

One aspect of the rule requires the cameras to provide a view directly behind a vehicle that is 10 feet wide and 20 feet long.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says an estimated 200 people are killed and 15,000 hurt annually in backup accidents. Part of the problem has to do with the new designs of vehicles these days, especially vans and SUVs that ride high and give a compromised rearview perspective, even with side and rearview mirrors.

Janette Fennell, president and founder of, says NHTSA for years ignored the evidence supporting the cams. She says supporters are happy the rule has been adopted.

"Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands of people have been injured because you cannot see what's behind your vehicle when you're backing, in the years that this rule was delayed," Fennell said.

A number of automakers, most notably Honda, are getting out in front of this mandate by equipping their vehicles with the cameras now. There is the usual 60 days for the public to comment on the new rule, which was passed by Congress.