FMCSA to Expand Definition of ‘Vehicle Safety Technology,’ Modify Mounting Regs
Washington, D.C. — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is expanding the definition of “vehicle safety technology” and modifying regulations related to the mounting of such devices.
In a final rule issued on Friday, the FMCSA notified it is amending the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) to increase the area within which certain “vehicle safety technology” devices may be mounted on the interior of the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) windshields.
Specifically, the Agency is increasing from 4 inches to 8.5 inches the distance below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers within which vehicle safety technologies may be mounted.
The Agency is also expanding the definition of “vehicle safety technology,” found at § 393.5, to include advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as braking warning systems, driver camera systems, attention assist warning systems, and traffic sign recognition.
Additionally, under the final rule, any device that incorporates Global Positioning Systems (GPS) is included in the definition of vehicle safety technology.
In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) issued in the summer of 2021, the Agency originally included automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems as well, but chose not to include it into the final rule since a rulemaking mandating AEB for big rigs is also forthcoming this year.
Beginning in 2016, the FMCSA began granting five-year exemptions to technology makers to provide more flexibility in the regulations pertaining to the placement and mounting of such devices.
The new changes are in response to a petition filed on March 10, 2019, by Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) asking the FMCSA to initiate a rulemaking to effectively make permanent — for all safety tech developers — temporary exemptions already granted to companies such as DTNA, SmartDrive, Lytx, J.J. Keller and Associates, Nauto, Samsara Networks and Netradyne.
In the NPRM, the FMCSA argued the changes will “better accommodate the vehicle manufacturer advancements in the field of driver assistance technologies,” and add “no cost” to industry stakeholders.
The Agency also asserts the proposals will improve safety outcomes by reducing the number of Commercial Motor Vehicle-involved crashes, and thus, the severity of such crashes including potential loss of life, injury and property damage.