When you’re buying a new car, it’s tempting – and sometimes smart – to save money by skipping pricey optional features. However, while opting out of the high-end stereo might make sense, some new car features aren’t worth passing up. Case in point? The backup camera.

Ford Motor Company

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has mandated that backup cameras need to be standard in all vehicles under 10,000 pounds by May 2018, they’re still an optional feature on many new cars. Though getting a rearview camera will add to a new car’s price, that extra cash will likely be worth it. 

NHTSA reports that each year, on average, the U.S. has 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries caused by backover crashes. Most of the victims are children and the elderly, with kids under 5 making up 31 percent of the fatalities on average, and people age 70 and older making up 26 percent.

Tests by AAA show that backup cameras can help reduce these accidents by enlarging the area behind the car that the driver can see. AAA found that the improvement in rearward visibility ranged from 11 percent to 75 percent, depending on the type of vehicle.

Adding an optional rearview camera to a new car will increase the price, but by increasing the area behind the car that you’re able to see, it could save you from a few fender benders or even a more tragic accident. NHTSA estimates that when backup cameras are standard on all new cars, 58 to 69 lives should be saved each year.

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