A Substitude for rearview mirrors
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is considering allowing cameras to replace both rearview and sideview mirrors on trucks.
NHTSA announced it will be opening a 60-day comment period to gather technical information and analysis on camera monitoring systems so that the agency can determine whether these systems can provide the same level of safety as the rearview mirrors.
Prior research on rearview cameras the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) is being issued in response to a 2014 petition filed jointly by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Tesla to replace outside rearview mirrors on cars, and a similar petition filed in 2015 by Daimler Trucks North America for heavy trucks.
However, “both of these petitions cited improved fuel economy (not safety) as the primary benefit of allowing this change,” NHTSA points out in the proposal. “Neither petition provided objective data or analysis to aid the agency in determining the net effect on safety of amending FMVSS No. 111 to permit a CMS compliance option for rear visibility.”
NHTSA stated that while it sees CMS as “promising” technology, “the agency has some lingering safety concerns that it believes should be addressed prior to deciding whether to propose amending FMVSS No. 111 to permit CMS as a compliance option for rear visibility.”
For example, it cited a news report in which the CEO of a CMS manufacturer found that 5 to 10% of motorists suffer motion sickness or have depth-of-vision problems when viewing the CMS video image. “NHTSA is not aware of any research having been done in this area, but the possibility that some percentage of drivers cannot use a CMS is something that NHTSA believes deserves further research.”
The agency is also encouraging comments on the potential economic effects of CMS, including the cost difference between a vehicle equipped with CMS compared with rearview mirrors, and the extent to which the improved fuel economy provided by using cameras instead of mirrors would offset that increased cost.