Hindsight Is Better than 2020

The long-arm of the law is here. In 2007, the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007 was passed by Congress requiring backup cameras. It took until 2014 before NHTSA was able to put together modifications to FMVSS 111. It used to be called "Rearview Mirrors." Now, it is "Rear Visibility."

I'm sure most anyone watching TV has seen commercials from passenger companies talking about their rear visibility safety features with an in-dash monitor. Many of us have driven vehicles with this on rentals. Those who now own such vehicles would not give it up, as it helps so much with backing maneuvers. Alas, the regulation applies to vehicles of 10,000 pounds or less GVWR. And, there is a phase-in period typical of government regulations. 10% of vehicles must comply between May 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017. It's 40% in the following year and all new vehicles from May 1, 2018 forward. Of course, there are a number of exemptions to the phase in for small manufacturers, limited line manufacturers, and multistage manufacturers. 

For the last few years, I've been watching the increasing number of options for cameras and the large number of purveyors. One year I counted nearly two dozen at the NTEA Work Truck Show. This year, it's closer to a dozen. Several are showing prototypes of 360 degree views. Several are showing options for wireless transmitting signals from the camera to the display device. Ford introduced the new 2017 SuperDuty with the capability of taking in up to 7 camera images. One supplier mentioned a system they did with 15 cameras for a mining truck. Truck manufacturers have petitioned for cameras to be allowed to replace mirrors in the USA, as regulations in Europe will in the future.

Add to this the requirement from FMCSA to have an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) in many vehicles, often with a graphic display, and I see that we will have many more cameras in medium and heavy trucks in the next several years. As the heavy duty manufacturers release new vehicles for 2017, watch for changes in the dash that incorporate a graphic display that could also show a camera image. Cameras are already finding use in recreational vehicles, refuse vehicles, mining trucks, emergency vehicles, walk-in vans. I expect that NHTSA will take notice and create a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) at some point for the heavier vehicles. Certainly medium duty vehicles have backing incidents. What are they costing you now in terms of damages, lost time, and more?

Look to the future and make sure you have 2020 hindsight.

TAGS: Equipment
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