Back-up camera requirement for new vehicles kicks in Tuesday

If you're in the market for a new car this spring, you'll notice something in your research.

As of May 1, all new cars as well as new small vans and trucks sold in Canada must be equipped with rear-view camera systems.

The requirement for back-up visibility brings Canadian safety benchmarks in line with those in the United States, which will also be fully implemented on Tuesday.

David Booth, senior writer at Driving.ca says it is the latest example of what used to be luxury frills becoming standard.

In announcing the measure in 2016, Transport Canada said it was meant to protect children, disabled persons, and the elderly who are vulnerable to back-up mishaps.

The government estimates such crashes killed 27 people and injured more than 1,500 between 2004 and 2009.

While Booth says that's "pretty small fry" when considered alongside the thousands of people killed in other types of crashes each year, he recognizes that reversing into a child on a tricycle is its own special kind of horror.

Booth does not expect the new backup system requirement to substantially increase the cost of new vehicles.

As it is, he says adding a rear-view camera to a vehicle that already has a display screen will set you back about $42 while starting from scratch costs about $150.

But not all back-up systems are created equal.

Booth says some simply provide the driver with a look behind them, others will offer distance and direction markers that not only show whether the path is clear but help the driver to reverse into a parking spot.

He expects more partial self-driving features like cruise control with advance radar to keep your car a certain distance from vehicle in front of you to be standardized in the next two or three years.

with files from the Canadian Press