U.S. orders rearview cameras by 2018

The U.S. government said Monday that it will require new cars and light trucks sold in the United States to have rearview cameras by May 2018, a regulation intended to prevent drivers from backing into pedestrians.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the new requirement will apply to all vehicles under 10,000 pounds, including buses and trucks.

“Rear visibility requirements will save lives, and will save many families from the heartache suffered after these tragic incidents occur,” the acting NHTSA administrator, David Friedman, said in a statement.

NHTSA said that 58 to 69 lives will be saved each year once all cars and light trucks have this technology.

There are on average 210 fatalities and 15,000 injuries per year caused by back-over accidents, the agency said. Children under 5 and adults 70 and older account for more than half of all back-over fatalities each year.

Many automakers already are installing rearview cameras in response to consumer demand.

Safety watchdogs welcomed the new rule but faulted the Obama administration for not moving sooner. In 2008, Congress directed the Transportation Department, which oversees NHTSA, to issue a rear-visibility standard by 2011.

— Reuters

Inflation hits lowest level since 2009

Euro-zone inflation hit its lowest level since November 2009 in March, a drop that raises expectations that the European Central Bank will take radical action to stop the threat of deflation in the currency bloc.

Annual consumer inflation in the 18 countries sharing the euro was 0.5 percent in March, with the pace of price rises cooling from February’s 0.7 percent reading, the E.U.’s statistics office, Eurostat, said Monday.

The euro zone is far from the deflation that Japan suffered from the early 1990s, when falling prices weakened demand, leading to wage cuts and even-lower prices, but the bloc’s low inflation rate is a clear sign of economic fragility.

Inflation has been in the ECB’s “danger zone” of below 1 percent for six consecutive months, and the reading increases the chances that the ECB will cut interest rates when its Governing Council meets Thursday.

— Reuters

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— From staff reports, news services