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Notice

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Vision Systems North America, Inc. Application for an Exemption

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.

ACTION:

Notice of application for exemption; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requests public comment on an exemption application from Vision Systems North America, Inc. (VSNA) to allow motor carriers to operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) equipped with the company's Smart-Vision high definition camera monitoring system (Smart-Vision) as an alternative to the two rear-vision mirrors required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs). VSNA states that its Smart-Vision system provides the same functionality and view as traditional mirrors but with high-definition cameras and interior displays. VSNA believes the exemption would maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption because the Smart-Vision system meets or exceeds the performance requirements for traditional mirrors under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)'s standards, which are cross-referenced by the FMCSRs.

DATES:

Comments must be received on or before October 28, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) Docket ID FMCSA-2019-0159 using any of the following methods:

  • Website: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the Federal electronic docket site.
  • Fax: (202) 493-2251.
  • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001.
  • Hand Delivery: Ground Floor, Room W12-140, DOT Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. e.t., Monday-Friday, except Federal holidays.
  • Submissions Containing Confidential Business Information (CBI): Mr. Brian Dahlin, Chief, Regulatory Evaluation Division, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590.

To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. See the “Public Participation and Request for Comments” portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for instructions on submitting comments, including information collection comments for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mr. Jose Cestero, Vehicle and Roadside Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle Safety, MC-PSV, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001; (202) 366-5541; jose.cestero@dot.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Participation and Request for Comments

Submitting Comments

If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this notice (Docket No. FMCSA-2019-0159), indicate the specific section of this document to which your comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You may submit your comments and material online or by fax, mail, or hand delivery, but please use only one of these means. FMCSA recommends that you include your name and a mailing address, an email address, or a phone number in the body of your document so that FMCSA can contact you if there are questions regarding your submission.

To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​FMCSA-2019-0159, click on the “Comment Now!” button and type your comment into the text box on the following screen. Choose whether you are submitting your comment as an individual or on behalf of a third party and then submit.Start Printed Page 50879

If you submit your comments by mail or hand delivery, submit them in an unbound format, no larger than 81/2 by 11 inches, suitable for copying and electronic filing. If you submit comments by mail and would like to know that they reached the facility, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed postcard or envelope.

FMCSA will consider all comments and material received during the comment period and may make changes based on your comments.

Confidential Business Information

CBI is commercial or financial information that is both customarily and actually treated as private by its owner. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), CBI is exempt from public disclosure. If your comments responsive to the NPRM contain commercial or financial information that is customarily treated as private, that you actually treat as private, and that is relevant or responsive to the NPRM, it is important that you clearly designate the submitted comments as CBI. Please mark each page of your submission that constitutes CBI as “PROPIN” to indicate it contains proprietary information. FMCSA will treat such marked submissions as confidential under the FOIA, and they will not be placed in the public docket of the NPRM. Submissions containing CBI should be sent to Mr. Brian Dahlin, Chief, Regulatory Analysis Division, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington DC 20590. Any comments FMCSA receives which are not specifically designated as CBI will be placed in the public docket for this rulemaking.

Viewing Comments and Documents

To view comments, as well as any documents mentioned in this preamble as being available in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov/​#!docketDetail;​D=​FMCSA-2019-0159 and choose the document to review. If you do not have access to the internet, you may view the docket online by visiting Docket Operations in Room W12-140 on the ground floor of the DOT West Building, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.

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.

Background

Under Agency 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 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 Agency's decision 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)).

VSNA Application for Exemption

VSNA has applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.80(a) to allow its Smart-Vision system to be installed as an alternative to the two rear-vision mirrors required on CMVs. A copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice.

Section 393.80(a) of the FMCSRs requires that each bus, truck, and truck-tractor be equipped with two rear-vision mirrors, one at each side. The mirrors must be positioned to reflect to the driver a view of the highway to the rear and the area along both sides of the CMV. Section 393.80(a) cross-references NTHSA's standards for mirrors on motor vehicles (49 CFR 571.111, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard [FMVSS] No. 111). Paragraph S7.1 of FMVSS No. 111 provides requirements for mirrors on multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 4,536 kg and less than 11,340 kg and each bus, other than a school bus, with a GVWR of more than 4,536 kg. Paragraph S8.1 provides requirements for mirrors on multipurpose passenger vehicles and trucks with a GVWR of 11,340 kg or more.

The Smart-Vision system consists of multiple digital cameras firmly mounted high on the exterior of the vehicle, enclosed in an aerodynamic package that provides both environmental protection for the cameras and a mounting location for optimal visibility. Each camera has proprietary video processing software that presents a clear, high-definition image to the driver by means of a monitor firmly mounted to each A-pillar of the CMV, i.e., the structural member between the windshield and door of the cab. VSNA explains that attaching the monitors to the A-pillars avoids the creation of incremental blind spots while eliminating the blind spots associated with conventional mirrors. VSNA states that its Smart-Vision system meets or exceeds the visibility requirements in FMVSS No. 111 based on the following factors:

  • Increased field of view (FOV) when compared to conventional mirrors—The Smart-Vision system enables the driver to see (1) vehicles and pedestrians in the “No-Zone,” (2) multiple lanes of traffic and overtaking vehicles that are entering the commercial vehicle “No-Zone,” (3) tire fires, and (4) loose straps, ropes, or chains when transporting open cargo.
  • Increased Image Quality—The Smart-Vision system provides enhanced vision in inclement weather, higher visibility in low light conditions, and filters out sunlight glare at dawn and dusk, improving driver visibility.
  • Fail-safe design—The Smart-Vision system has a fail-safe design due to the independent video processing of multiple camera images, additionally supported by software diagnostics to ensure that “real time images” are displayed and that any unlikely partial failure is clearly identified.
  • Reduced Driver Fatigue—The Smart-Vision system results in less lateral head and eye movement due to the monitor location on the A-pillar, and VSNA believes that this may result in lower levels of driver fatigue after extended driving times.

The exemption would apply to all CMV operators driving vehicles equipped with the Smart-Vision system. VSNA believes that mounting the system as described would maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety achieved without the exemption.

Request for Comments

In accordance with 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA requests public comment from all interested persons on Start Printed Page 50880VSNA's application for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.80(a). All comments received before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated at the beginning of this notice will be considered and will be available for examination in the docket at the location listed under the ADDRESSES section of this notice.

Comments received after the comment closing date will be filed in the public docket and will be considered to the extent practicable. In addition to late comments, FMCSA will also continue to file, in the public docket, relevant information that becomes available after the comment closing date. Interested persons should continue to examine the public docket for new material.

Start Signature

Issued on: September 19, 2019.

Larry W. Minor,

Associate Administrator for Policy.

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[FR Doc. 2019-20904 Filed 9-25-19; 8:45 am]

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