The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced a five-year exemption to Stoneridge Inc. allowing its aftermarket “MirrorEye” mirrorless digital camera and sensor system to be installed on trucks and buses as an alternative to traditional mirrors, as reported by Transport Topics. Currently, trucks and buses must have two outside mirrors giving the driver a view of both driver and passenger sides as well as the rear of the vehicle.
MirrorEye has five cameras, sensors and three digital displays. Along the right and left A-pillars are two 12.2-inch high-definition monitors. There is another 7-inch display mounted high in the center of the cab. The displays are placed within the driver’s line of sight in order to improve reaction time.
FMCSA believes that the all-weather cameras and sensors have an advantage over mirrors in inclement weather such as rain, snow and ice, as well as other low-vision conditions such as nighttime driving. There is also a belief that removing the mirrors will put less of an aerodynamic drag on the vehicle, increasing fuel efficiency by as much as 4 percent.
Large firms such as Maverick Transportation, J.B. Hunt, and Schneider have been testing MirrorEye since 2017. Though the thinking by FMCSA and the larger firms is that MirrorEye is a safety improvement over mirrors, since this is a trial period, the question must be asked: will local law enforcement concur?
New York City disregards federal standards when it comes to truck marking requirements and has burdensome length and width restrictions as well. Given that trucks are routinely viewed as a cash cow for New York City, it is reasonable to wonder if the FMCSA waiver will be honored.
Though there is some relief for trucking enforcement in New York. As Land Line reports, thanks to a lawsuit filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), New York State can not enforce the ELD mandate. Law enforcement can look at paper logs or view the screen on the ELD for hours of service only. More importantly, they can’t download or transmit the data. Hopefully this frees New York drivers up to better use their discretion when it comes to hours of service time relating to parking. Without the ELD enforcement hanging over their heads, hopefully drivers in need of a rest will look to commercial and industrial areas to pull over and avoid parking in residential neighborhoods.