FMCSA extends field test of dash cam monitoring of road, driver

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | Thursday, November 29, 2012

A field test of 500 trucks with “on-board safety monitoring” systems has been given the green light to continue for another two years by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Current regulations prohibit any device such as a dash cam or toll transponder from being placed more than six inches from the top of the windshield. The regulation’s intent is to protect the driver’s field of vision through the windshield by prohibiting clutter.

Transecurity was granted a 90-day exemption from the regulation in July. The company petitioned the agency in August to continue the exemption that allows a field test with 500 trucks equipped with camera-based monitoring systems mounted lower than the regulations allow, but still outside the driver’s line of sight.

The field test, according to the Nov. 28 Federal Register notice, is part of FMCSA’s research into the system, which tracks both the road and the driver.

The location of the camera, according to Transecurity’s petition, needs to be low on the windshield “because the safety equipment must have a clear forward facing view of the road, and low enough to accurately scan facial features for detection of impaired driving.”

The notice granting the two-year exemption of the prohibition on location devices on windshields states that Transecurity does not cite any studies or data that safety will not be downgraded by the placement of the camera systems.

However, agency officials believe the systems do not pose an adverse impact on safety, and without the waiver the agency would not be able to test this “innovative onboard safety monitoring system.”

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