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Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Renewal of Exemption for Con-Way Freight, TK Holdings, Inc., and Bendix

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Trucking American Government Topics:  Con-Way, Bendix

Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Renewal of Exemption for Con-Way Freight, TK Holdings, Inc., and Bendix

William Bronrott
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
November 25, 2013


[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 227 (Monday, November 25, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 70396-70398]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28205]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2010-0166]


Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Renewal of 
Exemption for Con-Way Freight, TK Holdings, Inc., and Bendix

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

ACTION: Notice of renewal of exemption; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) renews 
an exemption which enables motor carriers to mount lane departure 
warning system sensors lower in the windshield of a commercial motor 
vehicle (CMV) than is currently permitted by the Agency's regulations. 
The Agency has concluded that granting this renewed exemption will 
maintain a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the 
level of safety achieved without the exemption. However, the Agency 
requests comments on this issue, especially from anyone who believes 
this standard will not be maintained.

DATES: This decision is effective November 18, 2013. Comments must be 
received on or before December 26, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments bearing the Federal Docket 
Management System (FDMS) number FMCSA-by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting 
comments.
     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 through Friday, except Federal holidays.
     Fax: 1-202-493-2251.
    Instructions: Each submission must include the Agency name and 
docket number for this notice. For detailed instructions on submitting 
comments and additional information on the exemption process, see the 
``Public Participation'' heading below. Note that all comments received 
will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including 
any personal information provided. Please see the ``Privacy Act'' 
heading for further information.
    Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or 
comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov or to Room W12-140, 
DOT Building, New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 
5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The Federal 
Docket Management System (FDMS) is available 24 hours each day, 365 
days each year. If you want acknowledgement that we received your 
comments, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or postcard 
or print the acknowledgement page that appears after submitting 
comments on-line.
    Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all 
comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement for the FDMS published in the Federal 
Register published on December 29, 2010 (73 FR 82132) or you may visit 
http://edocket/access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-785.pdf.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Luke W. Loy, Vehicle and Roadside 
Operations Division, Office of Bus and Truck Standards and Operations, 
MC-PSV, (202) 366-0676, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Under 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e), FMCSA may grant an exemption 
from the prohibition on obstructions to the driver's field of view 
requirements in 49 CFR 393.60(e) for a two-year period if it finds 
``such exemption would likely achieve a level of safety that is 
equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be 
achieved absent such exemption'' (49 CFR 381.305(a)).

Applications for Exemptions

    On November 11, 2009, Con-way applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 
393.60(e)(1) to allow it to install lane departure warning system 
sensors on 1,272 of its newly purchased power units. Takata and Iteris 
submitted nearly identical exemption applications for their lane 
departure warning system sensors on December 15, 2009 and on February 
25, 2010, respectively. On June 14, 2010, FMCSA published a notice of 
these applications, and asked for public comment (75 FR 33666).
    Section 393.60(e)(1) of the FMCSRs prohibits the obstruction of the 
driver's field of view by devices mounted at the top of the windshield. 
Antennas, transponders and similar devices (collectively, devices) must 
not be mounted more than 152 mm (6 inches) below the upper edge of the 
windshield. These devices must be located outside the area swept by the 
windshield wipers and outside the driver's sight lines to the road and 
highway signs and signals.
    Con-way, Takata, and Iteris stated that over the last several 
years, truck manufacturers have increased the windshield area to 
maximize driver visibility. As a result, manufacturers

[[Page 70397]]

have installed larger windshield wipers that increase the swept area 
beyond the minimum required by Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 
(FMVSS) No. 104, ``Windshield Wiping and Washing Systems.'' FMVSS No. 
104 establishes minimum windshield wiper standards to be used by 
manufacturers of passenger cars, multi-purpose passenger vehicles, 
trucks, and buses.
    Con-way, Takata, and Iteris provided diagrams and photos showing 
the dimensions of their lane departure sensors and their mounting 
locations on vehicle windshields. Specifically, the lane departure 
sensor device itself measures 2 inches by 3.5 inches and is mounted 
within the top 2 inches of the windshield wiper sweep. The lane 
departure system requires the forward lens of the sensor to be in the 
swept area of the windshield for a clear view during inclement weather.
    Con-way, Takata, and Iteris cited the findings of a report 
published by FMCSA's Office of Analysis, Research and Technology titled 
``Benefit-Cost Analyses of Onboard Safety Systems,'' which summarizes 
the projected safety benefits for various CMV onboard safety 
technologies, including lane departure warning systems. Using projected 
efficacy rates ranging from 23 percent to 53 percent, the report 
estimated that, based on industry-wide use, lane departure warning 
systems have the potential to eliminate approximately 1,609-2,463 
single-vehicle roadway departure crashes, 627-1,307 single-vehicle 
roadway departure rollovers, 1,111-2,223 same-direction lane departure 
sideswipes, 997-1,992 opposite-direction lane departure sideswipes, and 
59-118 opposite-direction lane departure head-on collisions. Con-way, 
Takata, and Iteris each stated that without the exemption, they would 
be unable to (1) implement the lane departure warning system, and (2) 
realize the potential safety benefits that could be expected with the 
utilization of this technology, as estimated in the FMCSA report 
described above.

2011 Notice of Final Disposition

    On November 18, 2011 (76 FR 71619), FMCSA published a notice of 
final disposition granting the Con-way, Takata, and Iteris exemption 
applications. FMCSA determined that granting the temporary exemptions 
to allow the placement of lane departure warning system sensors lower 
in the windshield than is currently permitted by the Agency's 
regulations would 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 was no 
indication that the lane departure warning system sensors 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 location within the top two inches of the area swept by the 
windshield wiper and out of the driver's normal sightline would be 
reasonable and enforceable at roadside. In addition, the Agency 
believed that the use of lane departure warning systems by fleets would 
be likely to improve the overall level of safety to the motoring 
public.

Bendix's Request for the Renewal of the Exemption

    In 2011, Iteris, Inc. completed the sale of its vehicle sensors 
business to Bendix, which is continuing to sell the Iteris-developed 
lane departure warning systems. Bendix is seeking renewal of the 2011 
exemption.

FMCSA Decision

    The Agency believes that granting the exemption renewal to continue 
allowing the placement of lane departure warning system sensors lower 
in the windshield than is 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 lane departure warning system sensors 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 location within the top two inches of the area swept by the 
windshield wiper and out of the driver's normal sightline will be 
reasonable and enforceable at roadside. The Agency is unaware of any 
incidents wherein a crash involving vehicles equipped with these lane 
departure warning systems could be attributed to the minimal visual 
intrusion of the devices into the drivers' field of vision. In 
addition, the Agency believes that the use of lane departure warning 
systems by fleets is likely to improve the overall level of safety to 
the motoring public.
    While the November 2011 exemption granted relief to motor carriers 
using only the Takata and Iteris lane departure warning systems, the 
Agency has determined--given it is unaware of any reduction in the 
level of safety associated with the use of those systems--that it is 
appropriate to extend the scope of this exemption at this time to 
encompass motor carriers using any lane departure warning system, 
provided that the sensor that is mounted in the vehicle windshield (1) 
is the same size (2 inches by 3.5 inches) or smaller than the Takata 
and Bendix sensors, and (2) mounted in the windshield in accordance 
with the provisions of the original exemption, and as restated below. 
If, however, a motor carrier wishes to utilize a lane departure warning 
system using sensors larger than those identified above, a new 
exemption application will need to be submitted to FMCSA in accordance 
with the requirements of 49 CFR 381.300.

Terms and Conditions for the Exemption

    The Agency hereby grants the exemptions for a two-year period, 
beginning November 25, 2013 and ending November 25, 2015. During the 
temporary exemption period, motor carriers using lane departure warning 
systems with sensors measuring 2 inches by 3.5 inches or smaller must 
ensure that the sensors are mounted not more than 50 mm (2 inches) 
below the upper edge of the area swept by the windshield wipers, and 
outside the driver's sight lines to the road and highway signs and 
signals. The exemption will be valid for two 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 CMVs operated by motor carriers using lane departure warning 
systems 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 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

    During the period the exemption is in effect, no State shall 
enforce any law or

[[Page 70398]]

regulation that conflicts with or is inconsistent with this exemption 
with respect to a person operating under the exemption.

    Issued on: November 18, 2013.
William Bronrott,
Deputy Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2013-28205 Filed 11-22-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P

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