Exemptions granted for dashcams, crash-avoidance devices on windshields

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has granted exemptions to two companies who make crash-avoidance systems and video event recorders that are mounted on windshields of commercial vehicles. Specifically, the exemptions allow Mobileye’s collision-avoidance systems and Lytx Inc.’s video event recorders to be mounted within the swept area of a windshield.

Current safety regulations prohibit windshield-mounted devices, antennas and transponders from being placed within the swept area of the windshield wipers, about 6 inches from the top or bottom edge of the windshield.

FMCSA granted the exemptions to Mobileye and Lytx, saying their devices do not obstruct a driver’s view of the roadway or signage. FMCSA information declares that states and law enforcement agencies must provide for the exemptions and that they are not to cite drivers for windshield obstructions.

Discussions about crash-avoidance technologies, dash- and windshield-mounted cameras and driver tracking devices have become an increased focus for fleets and regulators alike.

Mobileye says its devices will be installed on “up to several hundred thousand” commercial motor vehicles in the coming years. The Mobileye exemption covers aftermarket versions.

“The camera-based sensor equipment to be installed is going to be located at either the bottom or top of the windshield, but will be in the swept area of the windshield wipers because the safety equipment must have a clear forward facing view of the road,” Mobilieye stated in its application.

The company says its equipment is similar to technology provided to Ford, GM, Honda and other makers of passenger vehicles.

Lytx, makers of fleet-tracking devices and event recorders, has had a windshield exemption in place since 2009. FMCSA has renewed it every two years. The latest exemption lasts through April 2017.

Interesting about the Lytx system is that it includes cameras or devices trained on the driver. FMCSA claims such devices can increase safety by identifying and remediating “risky driving behaviors” such as distraction or drowsiness.

“The Agency has concluded that granting this exemption renewal will maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to or greater than the level of safety achieved without the exemption,” FMCSA stated in its Federal Register notice announcing the exemptions.

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