In 30 years, we may find ourselves in the unfortunate circumstance of explaining to our children that car makers began placing backup cameras in their cars around 2010 of their own volition and that by 2012, nearly 70% of new cars had backup cameras. I imagine that our children will be surprised to hear that any company would place a backup camera in their vehicle before 2018.
That’s the year that the federal government made backup cameras mandatory – and thereby stole the credit for the invention of the backup camera from its true creator – the free market.
Backup cameras have been increasing in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. They are incredibly useful at preventing collisions while reversing. Without the government forcing anyone to do anything related to backup cameras, they were invented. They were placed into cars and sold in millions of vehicles without any government regulations forcing them to be. I bought a car with a backup camera in 2015 despite no law forcing me to. Millions of other consumers bought them without the government forcing them to or even encouraging them to. They bought the backup cameras because it was a product that they wanted.
But all of that is history now. And in this Orwellian world, history is forgotten extremely quickly, augmented by the manipulative iron fist of government.
The new federal law mandates that all vehicles sold in the US beginning in May of 2018 must come equipped with backup cameras ‘standard’. To the extremely naive teens and to those who are mentally challenged, this may sound like another benevolent act by government regulators. This regulation is not a benevolent act at all, though. It would be more accurate to describe it as ‘meaningless’ or ‘evil’.
The regulation is meaningless because every automaker will now include backup cameras with every vehicle and they will consequently increase the ‘standard’ price to reflect the cost to produce the vehicle equipped with a backup camera. This won’t really save anyone money in regards to their purchase of a camera-equipped-vehicle.
The regulation is evil because the only meaningful change it makes to the auto market is that it makes it a crime for auto makers to sell vehicles without backup cameras. This essentially shaves off the cheapest layer of vehicles from existence. People may soon lose the option to buy a cheap new car, despite only needing it for simple transport from one location to another. If you thought cars were too expensive before, wait until no more truly ‘standard’ cars exist in the US. You will have to pay the price of a camera-equipped-car, because that’s what you’ll be getting. Whatever happened to the Trump administration supporting the free market?
Some would contend that the primary motive of those who pushed for this new law was control of the population, regardless of the law being justified ‘for child safety’. If regulators, politicians, and voters really cared to eliminate all child traffic deaths by any means necessary, they would adopt much stricter laws that would save more lives and time and money. One such law that I’ve spoken about on my radio show would be the mandatory implementation of speed limiters.
As the federal government once again swoops in and ‘mandates’ a common sense safety measure that pretty much the entire auto industry and US population were already on board with, we once again must remember that individuals have the ability to innovate while the government only has the ability to mandate. We must consider whether we want to continue living in one massive state where one small, evil group of unelected regulators should have the power to mandate what 320 million individuals can buy and sell to each other. We must remember that any government that controls the economy is a government that is far too powerful. Perhaps we should consider whether New Hampshire should nullify this federal law (and others) so that we can continue to engage in free trade with each other without obstruction by the iron fist of the federal government.