Since 2018, all new vehicles sold in the U.S. must have a backup camera. The theory behind this requirement is these cameras promote pedestrian safety, protect other drivers and safeguard property. The reality, though, may be markedly different.

Backup cameras mount on the rear of vehicles, sending real-time footage into the cabin. Drivers use this footage to assist them with reversing. Nevertheless, for at least the following three reasons, backup cameras may put your life in danger.

1. Incorrect usage

When a driver shifts into reverse and looks at the screen, he or she sees an alert about using the backup camera correctly. Specifically, this alert reminds the driver to look over his or her shoulder before moving backward. Many drivers simply skip this step.

2. Limited visibility

Backup cameras typically capture an 80-degree field of vision behind a vehicle, leaving the driver with limited visibility. That is, if the driver only looks at the video screen, he or she may miss most of what is happening outside the vehicle.

The camera may also not paint a realistic picture of everything behind a vehicle. When viewing footage, a driver may see distorted images. Furthermore, if the camera’s lens is dirty, a driver may not be able to distinguish between mud and pedestrians, vehicles or anything else.

3. Visual distraction

Distracted driving remains a problem in Illinois and across the country. If a driver pays too much attention to the backup camera’s screen, he or she may miss driving hazards.

Backup cameras can be effective at reducing injuries. Nevertheless, because drivers may fail to recognize their limitations, backup cameras may also cause you to sustain a serious injury in a collision with a reversing vehicle.