A back­ward ap­proach?

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide Confidential - Twit­ter: @RTMBlack­burn

MAZDA boss Martin Ben­ders raised eye­brows at a me­dia con­fer­ence this week when he ques­tioned the role of re­vers­ing cam­eras as a safety aid.

The en­try level Neo model of the popular Mazda3 doesn’t have a re­vers­ing cam­era and many ex­pected the brand to fit one as stan­dard when it an­nounced a pric­ing ad­just­ment as a re­sult of the free trade agree­ment with Ja­pan.

In­stead, the brand made rear park­ing sen­sors and al­loy wheels stan­dard on the Neo, de­spite the fact that some of the cheap­est cars on the mar­ket — in­clud­ing the Toy­ota Yaris and Honda Jazz — now have cam­eras as stan­dard equip­ment.

“It might sur­prise you,” Ben­ders said, “but I don’t have a string of cus­tomer com­plaints or com­ments say­ing, ‘where’s my re­vers­ing cam­era?’ ”

Ben­ders said a re­vers­ing cam­era shouldn’t be re­lied on to guard against drive­way tragedies in­volv­ing young chil­dren.

“I don’t see the drive­way as be­ing a place where kids should be walk­ing around in the first place,” he said.

“I ex­pect that peo­ple who drive cars take care and at­ten­tion about how they drive their cars. Re­vers­ing cam­eras are not in­fal­li­ble. They’re more an aid but so are re­verse park­ing sen­sors and they will pick up ob­sta­cles in the same way.”

He later clar­i­fied his com­ments, say­ing he hadn’t meant to be dis­mis­sive about the cam­eras, but was mak­ing the point that driv­ers had to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for road safety, rather than rely on crash-avoid­ance tech­nol­ogy.

“There is no sil­ver bul­let to stop ac­ci­dents,” he said.

WITH RICHARD BLACK­BURN and PAUL GOVER

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