The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on December 26, 2018 that it had approved Stoneridge Inc.’s five-year exemption application. The company had requested this exemption in 2017 so that it could install its “MirrorEye” camera-monitoring system on trucks instead of the traditional rear-view mirrors as required by law. This decision could possibly lead the way for allowing MirrorEye, or other camera systems to be built into new trucks in the future.
In granting their approval, the FMCSA stated:
The Agency has determined that granting the exemption to allow use of the MirrorEye system in lieu of mirrors would likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level of safety provided by the regulation.
Currently, trucks are required to have two outside mirrors that are positioned to allow the driver a view of the area along both sides of the truck and a rear-view of the highway.
Stonebridge Inc., “a leader in highly engineered electrical and electronic components for the commercial vehicle and automotive industry” headquartered in Novi, MI announced via news release on January 15, 2019 its launch of MirrorEye. The MirrorEye system uses five cameras, sensors and three digital displays. The displays are installed within drivers’ line of sight for the purpose of improving their reaction time while scanning their panel.
Most notably about FMCSA’s approval is they agreed with Stoneridge that this all-weather camera system with its sensors will improve safety. This system has an advantage over mirrors when it comes to driving in poor weather and low-vision conditions with its full-color night vision.
Drivers using MirrorEye can expect to experience reduced driver fatigue because they will not need to more their head as much or need to look outside the cab. It will also help keep drivers’ attention on the road ahead as the system will eliminate blind spots that can make drivers second guess when trying to change lanes.
But it isn’t just added safety carriers can expect with MirrorEye. They will experience the added benefit of improved aerodynamics when using the MirrorEye system without mirrors. This means improved fuel efficiency for these trucks.
Currently, drivers for truckload carriers Schneider and J.B. Hunt Transport Services have been testing MirrorEye along with the legally-required mirrors. The drivers have given overwhelmingly positive feedback when testing the system. Other companies, including Daimler Trucks North American are requesting exemptions from FMCSA’s mirror requirement.
Time will tell if new camera technology will become the norm in the future in trucking. Until then, make sure to check out our blog for the latest developments that can help make your job safer and easier.