Federal regulators have granted J. J. Keller & Associates a five-year exemption that allows the company to mount its dashcam lower on a trucker’s windshield despite driver concerns of obstructed views.
In a decision scheduled to be published Tuesday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) determined that the lower placement of the company’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) camera would not affect safety.
In fact, “the agency believes the use of the ADAS camera by fleets is likely to improve the overall level of safety for the motoring public,” FMCSA stated.
The decision comes less than a month after the agency approved a similar exemption to Samsara for its AI dashcam device.
“This safety system is similar in operation to others for which FMCSA has granted exemptions,” J. J. Keller noted in its exemption request filed in July. “It is required that the camera is mounted to the windshield in an area swept by the windshield wipers. This will allow the camera an unobstructed view to the lane markings on the road, other objects in front of the vehicle and detection of driver distractions and drowsiness.”
Without the exemption, J. J. Keller “will be unable to offer the driver safety solution because our customers would not be able to install the camera device in an optimal location on the windshield,” the company stated. “Our customers could also be fined for violating the current regulations.” The company plans to offer the device to all current and future customers, which it said could exceed 150,000 vehicles and drivers.
J. J. Keller’s request was supported by the National Private Truck Council and the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association. As was the case with Samsara’s application, however, many individual truck drivers opposed the application citing privacy issues and contending that mounting dashcams lower on the windshield causes obstructed views.
“These devices absolutely create a blind spot for drivers,” according to one commenter. “Anything in the line of sight is distracting and drivers tend to focus on being constantly monitored” versus paying attention to the road.
But FMCSA maintained that granting the temporary exemption – which is effective from Tuesday until Nov. 24, 2025 – will likely provide a level of safety that is at least equivalent to that achieved without the exemption because:
- Based on the information available, there is no indication that the ADAS camera would obstruct drivers’ views of the roadway, highway signs and signals, and surrounding traffic.
- Generally, trucks and buses have an elevated seating position that greatly improves the forward visual field of the driver and any impairment of available sight lines would be minimal.
- The mounting location where the bottom of the ADAS camera housing will not exceed 8 inches below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers outside the driver’s and passenger’s normal sight lines to the road ahead, highway signs and signals, and all mirrors, will be reasonable and enforceable at roadside.
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