In a recent amendment, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ruled that windshield-mounted video cameras will remain compliant with their guidelines for mounting placement, making permanent a temporary exemption the agency granted previously.
Published in March and effective May 6, 2022, the rule change amends the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to allow specific vehicle safety technology devices to be mounted slightly lower on the interior of a commercial motor vehicle than permitted in the past. Previously, the rule required devices to be mounted no more than 4 inches below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers. After granting temporary exemptions to various companies over the last few years, the FMCSA modified the rule to increase the distance to 8.5 inches. In response to a petition from Daimler Truck North America, a final ruling was given.
Additional requirements maintain that the units must be mounted no more than 7 inches above the lower edge of the area swept by the wipers. Devices are also still required to remain outside the driver’s sight lines to the road, signs, and signals. Furthermore, antennas, transponders, or other devices mounted at the top of a windshield are required to be located outside the area swept by the windshield wipers.
Fred Andersky, Bendix director of government and industry affairs, stated that “the rule will make it easier to implement advanced technologies that use multiple sensors without fleets having to worry about violating windshield clearance rules.”
The ruling marks an important step in the commercial vehicle industry’s highway safety efforts.
“Vehicle safety technology” takes on a new definition within the amendment as it adds technologies that had previously been granted temporary exemptions.
Making one change to the Notice of Proposed Rule-making, the final rule removed ‘‘automatic emergency braking,’’ from the definition for vehicle safety technology. The agency explained that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to complete a rule-making on AEB and FMCSA to complete a companion rule-making. The agency decided that it would be premature to address AEB in the final rule as the technology may or may not ultimately require placement within the swept area of the windshield wipers.
Vehicle safety technology included a fleet-related incident management system, performance or behavior management system, speed management system, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning or mitigation system, active cruise control system, and transponders under previous definitions.
With the amendment, this definition will also include braking warning systems, braking assist systems, driver camera systems, attention assist warning, GPS, and traffic sign recognition. Vehicle safety technology includes systems and devices that contain cameras, lidar, radar, sensors, and/or video.
The FMCSA noted in its decision that it “believes that the rule has the potential to improve the safety of CMV operations,” while offering time savings to motor carriers, suppliers, and the agency in not having to file for exemptions.