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Daimler gets FMCSA to consider rule changes for windshield cameras

Rulemaking would make some exemptions for vehicle safety devices unnecessary

FMCSA considering more flexibility in rules governing ADAS. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Federal regulators will consider revising rules for windshield-mounted cameras in trucks that would make filing for exemptions unnecessary.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposal, made at the request of Daimler Trucks North America and scheduled to be published on Tuesday, would increase the area within which a vehicle safety technology device – also known as an Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) – can be mounted on the inside of a truck windshield, from 4 inches to 8.5 inches.

“The agency believes that these changes will be welcomed by motor carriers and drivers alike and that coercion to violate these revised provisions, which is prohibited by [federal law], will not be an issue,” FMCSA stated in the rulemaking.

ADAS technology has advanced over the last five years to the extent that FMCSA has had to resort to issuing five-year exemptions to the rules currently on the books to allow truck manufacturers and technology companies more flexibility in where ADAS cameras can be installed on truck windshields and dashboards while continuing to not interfere – the companies have asserted – with drivers’ lines of sight to the road, highway signs and signals.

Since 2017, FMCSA has granted such exemptions to:

  • Hino Motors (August 2017)
  • DTNA (January 2018)
  • SmartDrive (April 2019)
  • Navistar (November 2019)
  • Lytx Inc. (May 2020)
  • Nauto (October 2020)
  • Samsara Networks (October 2020)
  • J. J. Keller & Associates (November 2020)
  • Netradyne (December 2020)

DTNA, a unit of Daimler AG [OTC: DDAIF], also asked FMCSA to expand the definition of vehicle safety technology to include additional ADAS devices that aim to promote driver and road safety, including braking warning systems, braking assist systems, automatic emergency braking, driver camera system, attention assist warning, and traffic sign recognition.

The proposed rule, if finalized, would also add GPS to that list even though the GPS display “does not require a clear forward-facing visual field through the windshield,” FMCSA stated.

“The GPS device can be located on top of the dash, which in many cases leaves the GPS in the same visual field as if the GPS were located on the windshield in the lower allowable area. Mounting the GPS lower on the dash would take the driver’s eyes farther from the road,” according to the agency. “The size of GPS display units is approximately the same size as the currently allowed vehicle safety technologies in the driver’s visual field. These devices/technologies have been proven to improve safety and vehicle operations.”

Comments on the proposed rulemaking are due 30 days after publishing in the Federal Register.

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher.

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.