Why did the FMCSA change the windshield regulations for trucks?

While most people are well aware that interstate trucks are subject to extensive federal regulations covering everything from their brakes to their tires, what they might not realize is that these regulations aren't just confined to the exterior of the truck, but rather extend to the interior as well.

For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's regulations on windshields dictate that no devices can be mounted more than six inches below the upper edge and, even then, they must be mounted outside the truck driver's line of sight. While this may seem somewhat arbitrary, the regulation exists to ensure that truckers have a clear line of sight to the road, signage and traffic signals.   

Interestingly enough, the FMCSA announced last week that it was officially changing this longstanding regulation on windshield-mountable devices.

What does the new regulation state?

Starting October 23, certain types of "vehicle safety technology" can be mounted on windshields provided they are no more than seven inches above the lower edge and four inches below the upper edge of the area covered by the wipers. Furthermore, the line of sight to the road and signage/signals must remain unobstructed.

Why did the FMCSA make this change?

The 2015 FAST Act highway bill contained a provision expressly ordering the FMCSA to amend existing regulations to permit the "voluntary mounting on a windshield of vehicle safety technology."

What does "vehicle safety technology" include?

Under the FAST Act, "vehicle safety technology" is defined to include lane departure warning systems, forward collision mitigation/warning systems, active cruise control systems, speed management systems, camera systems or any other technology deemed appropriate by the FMCSA.

Does this means these sorts of devices are now mandatory?

According to the text of the Final Rule, this type of vehicle safety technology is not yet mandatory for trucks.

It's certainly encouraging to see the FMCSA facilitate the expansion of much-needed safety technology in the trucking industry. Here's hoping it makes a real difference.

If you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident caused by the negligence of a driver or trucking outfit, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who fight to secure justice on your behalf.

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