For about the last decade, possibly more, backup cameras have been installed on various vehicles. It makes sense when you think about it on several levels.
Video Cameras Keep You Safe To The Rear
First, you don't have to turn your head to the rear to see what is behind you when you back up. Instead, the backup or rearview camera allows you to keep looking to the front to ensure that you don't run into any unseen problems in front of your vehicle. For example, let's say you are pulling out of a parking lot space at a crowded market. Simply backing straight out is not a good option because other vehicles are shielded from your view. Or, there may be pedestrians walking behind your vehicle who may not know your vehicle is backing.
Next, you start to back up and then suddenly reverse to pull out through what looks like an open spot. As you quickly turn your head back to the front, another vehicle pulls into the no-longer-open space, but you do not see the oncoming vehicle because your eyes have been in the wrong position. The result could be another crackup.
Third, a backup camera lets you see if there are pedestrians behind your car, so you have the chance to keep them safe.
Vehicles Rely On Rearview Camera Information
Finally, today's vehicles rely on the rearview camera for information for the vehicle's cross-traffic warning or rear pedestrian warning systems. These systems vehicles warn you of vehicles or people to the rear of your vehicle and not in your direct line of sight.
Today, the backup camera has become an essential device in keeping you safe. For this reason, the Ford Motor Co. has initiated a recall of about 22,000 trucks due to backup camera display issues. Or, as the automaker put it in its filing with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the "rearview camera displays a blank or distorted image can reduce the driver's view" of what is outside the vehicle, increasing the risk of a crash.
As a result of the problem, Ford has recalled 2019 F-150 pickups, plus Super Duty models F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 heavy-duty pickups and medium-duty trucks. The automaker detailed the reason for the problem. Due to a "poor electrical connection, the rearview camera may intermittently display a blank or distorted image." Because of this issue, these "vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 111, "Rear Visibility."
Ford Will Notify Owners
Ford will notify owners of the affected vehicles starting May 16. When owners receive their notification letters, they can contact their dealers, who will set up an inspection of the camera functions. Dealer technicians will replace the rearview cameras free of charge.
For more information, owners can contact Ford customer service at 866-436-7332. The identifier on this recall is 20C19. Or, owners can contact the NHTSA Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. Also, owners can go to the agency's website at www.nhtsa.gov. The NHTSA identification number for this recall is 22V252.
Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.