In recent years, many companies have obtained exemptions that allow them to mount safety devices lower in the windshield than allowed by FMCSA regulations.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a final rule in the Federal Register on Monday, March 7, this will simplify the process. The rule, which will take effect on May 6, was prompted by a petition from Daimler Trucks North America
The FMCSA’s final rule increases the area inside commercial vehicle windshields where certain safety devices can be mounted. Additionally, the agency has expanded the list of qualifying vehicle safety technology devices.
Current regulations require that devices with vehicle safety technologies be mounted less than 4 inches below the top edge of the swept area of the windshield. The agency amends the regulations to increase the permitted area to 8.5 inches.
Under existing regulatory definitions, vehicle safety technology includes a fleet incident management system, a performance or behavior management system, a speed management system, an exit warning system lane, a forward collision warning or mitigation system, an active cruise control system and a transponder. The updated definition would also include brake warning systems, brake assist systems, driver camera systems, attention assist warning, GPS equipment and sign recognition signaling. Vehicle security technology includes systems and devices that contain cameras, lidar, radar, sensors and/or video.
The agency stressed that the final rule does not mandate the use of any device. Instead, it permits their voluntary use when mounted “in a location that maximizes their effectiveness without impairing operational safety”.
The FMCSA estimates that eliminating individual exemption requests will save the agency about $10,900 per year.
In August, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association told FMCSA that only proven safety technologies should be included in the definition of vehicle safety technologies.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking included automatic emergency braking in the definition, but it was deleted from the final rule.
“Only technologies that have been proven to benefit traffic safety should be added to the definition of ‘vehicle safety technology’ listed under 393.5“wrote OOIDA. “The agency’s proposal still includes some systems that actually increase the likelihood of crashes and adds others that require more research. We are particularly concerned about speed management systems, automatic emergency braking systems and other equipment that are deployed on autonomous vehicles, which are tested and operated without sufficient oversight.
Noting that the recently passed infrastructure bill requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the FMCSA to establish regulations regarding automatic emergency braking technology, the agency decided that it “would be premature to address the automatic emergency braking in this final rule”. LL