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Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Daimler Trucks North America LLC Application for Exemption

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Trucking Topics:  Daimler AG

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Daimler Trucks North America LLC Application for Exemption

Cathy F. Gautreaux
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
31 January 2018


[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 21 (Wednesday, January 31, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4543-4545]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-01943]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2017-0176]


Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Daimler 
Trucks North America LLC Application for Exemption

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

ACTION: Notice of final disposition; grant of application for 
exemption.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 
announces its decision to grant Daimler Trucks North America LLC's 
(DTNA) application for a limited 5-year exemption allowing motor 
carriers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) manufactured by the 
company to use an Attention Assist and Lane Departure Warning system 
camera mounted lower in the windshield than is currently permitted. The 
Agency has determined that lower placement of the Attention Assist and 
Lane Departure Warning system camera would not have an adverse impact 
on safety and that adherence to the terms and conditions of the 
exemption would achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than 
the level of safety provided by the regulation.

DATES: This exemption is effective February 1, 2018 and ending January 
31, 2023.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jose R. Cestero, Vehicle and 
Roadside Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle 
Safety, MC-PSV, (202) 366-5541, Federal Motor Carrier Safety 
Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments submitted to notice requesting public comments on the 
exemption application, go to www.regulations.gov at any time or visit 
Room W12-140 on the ground level of the West Building, 1200 New Jersey 
Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., ET, Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays. The on-line Federal document 
management system is available 24 hours each day, 365 days each year. 
The docket number is listed at the beginning of this notice.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century 
(TEA- 21) [Pub. L. 105-178, June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 401] amended 49 
U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) to provide authority to grant exemptions from 
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). On August 20, 
2004, FMCSA published a final rule (69 FR 51589) implementing section 
4007. Under this rule, FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption 
request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must 
provide the public with 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 the safety analyses and the public comments 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 the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The decision of 
the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 
381.315(b)). If the Agency denies the request, it must state the reason 
for doing so. If the decision is to grant the exemption, the notice 
must specify the person or class of persons receiving the exemption and 
the regulatory provision or provisions from which an exemption is 
granted. The notice must specify the effective period of the exemption 
(up to 5 years) and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. 
The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.315(c) and 49 CFR 381.300(b)).

DTNA's Application for Exemption

    DTNA applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.60(e)(1) to allow an 
Attention Assist and Lane Departure Warning system camera to be mounted 
lower in the windshield than is currently permitted by the Agency's 
regulations in order to utilize a mounting location that allows optimal 
functionality of the system camera. A copy of the application is 
included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.
    Section 393.60(e)(1)(i) of the FMCSRs prohibits the obstruction of 
the driver's field of view by devices mounted on the

[[Page 4544]]

interior of the windshield. Antennas and similar devices must not be 
mounted more than 152 mm (6 inches) below the upper edge of the 
windshield, and outside the driver's sight lines to the road and 
highway signs and signals. However, Sec.  393.60(e)(1)(i) does not 
apply to vehicle safety technologies, as defined in Sec.  393.5, that 
include ``a fleet-related incident management system, performance or 
behavior management system, speed management system, forward collision 
warning or mitigations system, active cruise control system, and 
transponder.'' Section 393.60(e)(1)(ii) requires devices with safety 
technologies to be mounted (1) not more than 100 mm (4 inches) below 
the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers; or (2) not 
more than 175 mm (7 inches) above the lower edge of the area swept by 
the windshield wipers; and (3) outside the driver's sight lines to the 
road and highway signs and signals.
    DTNA states that the exemption, in addition to providing attention 
assist and lane departure warning functions, would allow DTNA to enable 
additional safety features in the future that will provide further 
safety benefits such as traffic sign recognition, active lane keeping, 
video capture, and intelligent headlight control. DTNA states that the 
Attention Assist and Lane Departure Warning system camera will become a 
critical enabler for future technology such as autonomous vehicles. The 
camera housing is approximately 102 mm (4.01 inches) wide by 177 mm 
(6.97 inches) tall, and will be mounted in the approximate center and 
near the top of the windshield with the bottom edge of the camera 
system approximately 8.5 inches below the upper edge of the area swept 
by the windshield wipers, outside of the driver's (and passenger's) 
normal sight lines to the road ahead, highway signs and signals, and 
all mirrors. This location will allow for the optimal functionality of 
the advanced safety systems supported by the camera. DTNA states that 
mounting the camera in this location does not significantly obstruct 
the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 104, ``Windshield wiping 
and washing systems,'' specified zones A, B, or C for passenger cars of 
1730 or more mm overall width.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ FMVSS No. 104 does not specify minimum swept areas for 
trucks and buses.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DTNA has installed prototype camera housings in fifteen DTNA 
conventional type vehicles and assessed the impact of the camera on 
driver and passenger visibility on over 50 CDL drivers and over 900,000 
miles. This includes over-the-road mileage accumulation through a 
mixture of mountain, freeway, highway, and city routes. DTNA states 
that all drivers and passengers agreed that there was no noticeable 
obstruction to the normal sight lines to the road ahead, highway signs, 
signals, or any mirrors.
    Without the proposed exemption, DTNA states that the customer will 
be unable to use Attention Assist and Lane Departure Warning system 
cameras on DTNA commercial motor vehicles due to concerns that (1) its 
``customers may be in violation of the current regulation,'' and (2) 
``the camera will not perform adequately to provide the safety benefit 
intended by the systems.''
    The exemption would apply to all CMV operators driving DTNA 
vehicles with the Attention Assist and Lane Departure Warning systems 
camera installed. DTNA believes that mounting the Attention Assist and 
Lane Departure Warning system camera within 7 inches below the upper 
edge of the windshield will allow for optimal functionality of the 
advance safety systems while providing visibility of the road ahead, 
highway signs, signals, and all mirrors.

Comments

    FMCSA published a notice of the application in the Federal Register 
on June 26, 2017, and asked for public comment (82 FR 28930). No 
comments were received.

FMCSA Decision

    The FMCSA has evaluated the DTNA exemption application. The 
Attention Assist and Lane Departure Warning system camera is 
approximately 7 inches tall, and is mounted near the top of the center 
of the windshield with the bottom of the camera system located 
approximately 8.5 inches below the top of the area swept by the 
windshield wipers. The camera system needs to be mounted in this 
location to properly perform its functions of monitoring the driver and 
the roadway for lane markings. The size of the camera system precludes 
mounting it (1) higher in the windshield, and (2) within 4 inches from 
the top of the area swept by the windshield wipers to comply with Sec.  
393.60(e)(1)(ii)(A).
    The Agency believes that granting the temporary exemption to allow 
the placement of the Attention Assist and Lane Departure Warning system 
camera lower than currently permitted by the Agency's regulations will 
provide a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the 
level of safety achieved without the exemption because (1) based on the 
technical information available, there is no indication that the 
Attention Assist and Lane Departure Warning system camera would 
obstruct drivers' views of the roadway, highway signs and surrounding 
traffic; (2) generally, trucks and buses have an elevated seating 
position that greatly improves the forward visual field of the driver, 
and any impairment of available sight lines would be minimal; and (3) 
the mounting location 8.5 inches below the top of the area swept by the 
windshield wipers and out of the driver's normal sightline will be 
reasonable and enforceable at roadside. In addition, the Agency 
believes that the use of Attention Assist and Lane Departure Warning 
system cameras by fleets is likely to improve the overall level of 
safety to the motoring public.
    This action is consistent with previous Agency action permitting 
the placement of similarly-sized devices on CMVs outside the driver's 
sight lines to the road and highway signs and signals. FMCSA is not 
aware of any evidence that the installation of other vehicle safety 
technologies mounted on the interior of the windshield has resulted in 
any degradation in safety.

Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

    The Agency hereby grants the exemption for a 5-year period, 
beginning January 31, 2018 and ending January 31, 2023. During the 
temporary exemption period, motor carriers will be allowed to operate 
CMVs manufactured by DTNA equipped with the Attention Assist and Lane 
Departure Warning system camera mounted in the approximate center of 
the windshield such that the bottom edge of the camera is not more than 
8.5 inches below the top of the area swept by the windshield wipers and 
outside the driver's sight lines to all mirrors, highway signs, 
signals, and view of the road ahead. The exemption will be valid for 5 
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 operating DTNA CMVs equipped with the Attention 
Assist and Lane Departure Warning system camera 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

[[Page 4545]]

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

    In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315(d), as implemented by 49 CFR 
381.600, during the period this exemption is in effect, no State shall 
enforce any law or regulation applicable to interstate commerce that 
conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption with respect to a 
firm or person operating under the exemption. States may, but are not 
required to, adopt the same exemption with respect to operations in 
intrastate commerce.

    Issued on: January 25, 2018.
Cathy F. Gautreaux,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2018-01943 Filed 1-30-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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