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September 23, 2016 1:15 PM, EDT

FMCSA Issues Final Rule on Windshield Placement of Safety Technologies

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Sept. 23 issued a final rule permitting the windshield placement of lane departure and collision avoidance systems and other technologies on commercial motor vehicles.

The rule’s amendments comply with a 2015 FAST Act mandate and update an earlier two-year exemption allowance announced in December.

The amendments do not impose new or more stringent requirements but codify the temporary exemptions that allowed the use of the safety technologies in locations that previously would have been a violation of federal regulations.

“More importantly, the amendments do not mandate the use of any devices or technologies but simply permit the voluntary use of the devices/technologies while mounted in a location that maximizes their effectiveness without impairing operational safety,” FMCSA said.

The rule allows devices that utilize certain vehicle safety technologies, including but not limited to video event recorders, lane departure warning systems, collision mitigation or warning systems, transponders and sensors that are part of a hands-free driver aid equipment package, to be mounted on the interior of the windshield and within the area swept by the windshield wipers.

The rule is effective Oct. 24, and the agency said petitions for reconsideration of the rule must be submitted to the FMCSA administrator no later than that date. Because the rule is a “nondiscretionary, ministerial action,” it does not require prior notice and public comment.

Specifically, the agency replaces a current regulation that requires antennas and similar devices to be mounted not more than 6 inches below the upper edge of the windshield and outside the driver’s sight lines to the road and highway signs and signals, the agency said.

“FMCSA has over seven years of real-world experience of motor carriers operating CMVs using devices mounted on the interior of the windshield and marginally within the area swept by the windshield wipers,” according to the rule. “During that time, FMCSA is unaware of any crashes that have been attributed to the location of such devices.”