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Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Exemption Application

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Virginia Tech Transportation Institute Exemption Application

T.F. Scott Darling, III
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
May 20, 2015


[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 97 (Wednesday, May 20, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 29151-29152]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-12199]



[[Page 29151]]

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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2015-0024]


Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Virginia Tech 
Transportation Institute Exemption Application

AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice of final disposition.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
announces its decision to grant Virginia Tech Transportation 
Institute's (VTTI) exemption application to allow the placement of 
camera-based data acquisition systems (DAS) at the bottom of 
windshields on commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) require antennas, transponders, and 
similar devices to be located not more than 6 inches below the upper 
edge of the windshield, outside the area swept by the windshield 
wipers, and outside the driver's sight lines to the road and highway 
signs and signals. As part of a National Highway Traffic Safety 
Administration (NHTSA) research program, VTTI is coordinating 
development and installation of the DASs in up to 150 CMVs. The 
exemption will enable VTTI and NHTSA to conduct research on the 
reliability of collision avoidance systems for CMVs. FMCSA believes 
that mounting the DASs at the bottom of the windshield would maintain a 
level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of 
safety achieved without the exemption.

DATES: This exemption is effective May 20, 2015 and ends May 20, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Mike Huntley, Vehicle and Roadside 
Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle Safety, MC-
PSV, (202) 366-5370, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

ADDRESSES: For access to the docket to read background documents, 
including those referenced in this document, or to read comments 
received, go to:
     Regulations.gov, http://www.regulations.gov, at any time 
and insert FMCSA-2015-0024 in the ``Keyword'' box, and then click 
``Search.''
     Docket Management Facility, Room W12-140, DOT Building, 
1200 New Jersey Ave. SE., Washington, DC 20590. You may view the docket 
online by visiting the facility between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday 
through Friday except Federal holidays.

Viewing Comments and Documents

    To view comments filed in this docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov and click on the ``Read Comments'' box in the upper 
right hand side of the screen. Then, in the ``Keyword'' box, insert 
``FMCSA-2015-0024'' and click ``Search.'' Next, click ``Open Docket 
Folder'' in the ``Actions'' column. Finally, in the ``Title'' column, 
click on the document you would like to review. If you do not have 
access to the Internet, you may view the docket by visiting the Docket 
Management Facility at the address above.

Privacy Act

    In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 553(c), DOT solicits comments from the 
public to better inform its rulemaking process. DOT posts these 
comments, without edit, including any personal information the 
commenter provides, to www.regulations.gov, as described in the system 
of records notice (DOT/ALL-14 FDMS), which can be reviewed at 
www.dot.gov/privacy.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    FMCSA has authority under 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315 to grant 
exemptions from certain parts of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Regulations. FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in 
the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the 
public an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the 
application, including any safety analyses that have been conducted. 
The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the 
request.
    The Agency reviews safety analyses and public comments submitted, 
and determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a 
level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be 
achieved by compliance with the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). 
The decision of the Agency must be published in the Federal Register 
(49 CFR 381.315(b)) with the reasons for denying or granting the 
application and, if granted, the name of the person or class of persons 
receiving the exemption, and the regulatory provision from which the 
exemption is granted. The notice must also specify the effective period 
and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption 
may be renewed (49 CFR 381.300(b)).

VTTI's Application for Exemption

    VTTI applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.60(e)(1) to allow the 
installation of DASs at the bottom of the windshield on CMVs (80 FR 
8750, Feb. 18, 2015). A copy of the application is included in the 
docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.
    Section 393.60(e)(1) of the FMCSRs prohibits the obstruction of the 
driver's field of view by devices mounted at the top of the windshield. 
Antennas, transponders and similar devices (devices) must not be 
mounted more than 152 mm (6 inches) below the upper edge of the 
windshield. These devices must be located outside the area swept by the 
windshield wipers and outside the driver's sight lines to the road and 
highway signs and signals.
    VTTI applied for the exemption because it wants to install DASs in 
up to 150 CMVs operating throughout the United States in support of 
research being conducted on behalf of NHTSA. VTTI contends that it must 
be able to mount the DASs lower than allowed under 49 CFR 393.60(e)(1) 
``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.'' VTTI wants to mount the DASs and 
necessary brackets at the bottom of the windshield, preferably 3 inches 
or less above of the bottom of the wiper sweep and out of the driver's 
sightlines to the road and highway signs and signals, to the extent 
practicable.

FMCSA Grant of Waiver to VTTI

    Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 31315(a) and 49 CFR part 381, subpart B, the 
FMCSA granted VTTI a 90-day waiver on January 26, 2015 to allow the 
placement of the DASs at the bottom of windshields on CMVs, outside of 
the area permitted by section 393.60 of the FMCSRs. This waiver is 
effective from January 26, 2015, through April 25, 2015. Up to 150 DASs 
have been installed in CMVs operated by 7 carriers.
    During the waiver period, motor carriers participating in the NHTSA 
research program must ensure that the DASs are mounted within three 
inches of the bottom of the driver side windshield wiper sweep, and out 
of the driver's sightlines to the road and highway signs and signals as 
much as practicable. Vehicles participating in the study must carry a 
copy of the waiver in the vehicle. A copy of the FMCSA waiver letter to 
VTTI is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this 
notice.

[[Page 29152]]

Comments

    FMCSA published a notice of the exemption application in the 
Federal Register on February 18, 2015, and asked for public comment (80 
FR 8750). No comments were received.

FMCSA Decision

    The FMCSA has evaluated the VTTI exemption application. The Agency 
believes that granting the temporary exemption to allow the placement 
of the DASs and necessary mounting brackets at the bottom of the 
windshield, within and/or below 3 inches of the bottom of the 
windshield wiper sweep, will provide a level of safety that is 
equivalent to, or greater than the level of safety achieved without the 
exemption. FMCSA does not believe there will be any degradation in the 
safety performance of motor carriers utilizing the exemption during the 
2-year exemption period because (1) there is nothing in available 
technical information to indicate that the DASs would obstruct drivers' 
views of the roadway, highway signs and surrounding traffic; (2) 
generally, trucks and buses have an elevated seating position which 
greatly improves the forward visual field of the driver, making any 
impairment of available sight lines minimal; and (3) the location three 
inches or less above the bottom of the driver's-side windshield wiper 
sweep, and out of the driver's sightline, is reasonable and enforceable 
at roadside. Without the exemption, NHTSA would be unable to test this 
innovative onboard safety monitoring system.

Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

    The Agency hereby grants the exemption for a two-year period, 
beginning May 20, 2015 and ending May 20, 2017. During the temporary 
exemption period, up to 150 DASs may be installed in CMVs operated by 
the motor carriers listed below. These are the same carriers that have 
operated under the waiver:
    1. USDOT #32052 Crosby Trucking Service Inc. in Mount Sydney. VA.
    2. USDOT #369138 Rush Trucking Corporation in Wayne, MI.
    3. USDOT #1977980 Kuperus Trucking Inc. in Jenison, MI.
    4. USDOT #282628 Stagecoach Cartage and Distribution, LP in El 
Paso, TX.
    5. USDOT #184405 J & M Tank Lines Inc. in Birmingham, AL.
    6. USDOT #1243338 P&S Transportation LLC in Ensley, AL.
    7. USDOT #75827 Modular Transport Company in Wyoming, MI.
    These motor carriers must ensure that the DASs are mounted within 
and/or below 3 inches of the bottom of the driver side windshield wiper 
sweep, and out of the driver's sightlines to the road and highway signs 
and signals as much as practicable.
    The exemption is valid for two years unless rescinded earlier by 
FMCSA. The exemption will be rescinded if (1) motor carriers and/or 
commercial motor vehicles fail to comply with the terms and conditions 
of the exemption; (2) the exemption has resulted in a lower level of 
safety than was maintained before it was granted; or (3) continuation 
of the exemption would not be consistent with the goals and objectives 
of 49 U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b).
    Interested parties possessing information that would demonstrate 
that motor carriers using the DASs are not achieving the requisite 
statutory level of safety should immediately notify FMCSA. The Agency 
will evaluate any such information and, if safety is being compromised 
or if the continuation of the exemption is not consistent with 49 
U.S.C. 31136(e) and 31315(b), will take immediate steps to revoke the 
exemption.

Preemption

    During the period the exemption is in effect, no State shall 
enforce any law or regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent 
with this exemption with respect to a person operating under the 
exemption.

    Issued on: May 5, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Chief Counsel.
[FR Doc. 2015-12199 Filed 5-19-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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