Are Rear-View Mirrors Hard to Glance At?

Stoneridge Inc. recently requested that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rethink their rear-vision mirror requirement. Instead of commercial trucks being required to have one rear-view mirror on either side of the cab, the company wants to start installing cameras.

Stoneridge has a history of integrating technological advances with large commercial vehicles with tools such as configurable dashboards and soot sensors. Their mirrors, which reproduce the angles of vision by dual mirrors, can meet and exceed the visual clearance offered by traditional rear-view mirrors.

Do cameras really perform better than mirrors?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, regulates several different aspects of trucking equipment safety. That includes the details regarding mirror requirements and limiting blind spots on semi-trucks. It seems plausible that rear-view cameras could provide just as much visibility as mirrors, but the FMCSA is unlikely to allow exemptions to their regulations just for matching default requirements. Instead, cameras will need to offer something better. Some problems with rear-view mirrors that cameras could solve include:

Limits to peripheral vision.

No matter how well-positioned mirrors are, the mirrors themselves are placed on the edges of the driver’s vision. That means drivers have to consciously glance at the mirrors to confidently make lane changes and verify clear lanes. A monitor, on the other hand, can be placed more centrally in the driver’s field of vision without obscuring the road ahead.

Scope of visibility.

Mirrors only allow for so much visibility, and part of that is dictated by the length of the trailer and the driver’s height. But cameras can be positioned on the side and rear of the trailers and trucks. That means the view angle stays consistent or could be programmed to different trailer lengths and drivers. Cameras can also have a wider field of vision than mirrors.

As technology improves and starts to take over manual tasks and analog devices, each improvement is going to create at least small degrees of better safety. Cameras may be the next step along that path, and the FMCSA will be accepting comments from the public until May 7 before starting to form a conclusion on the exemption. Go to J.E.B. Insurance Services, LLC. to see technology adoption and safe driving can do for your insurance rates. We provide commercial truck insurance in the states of Florida, Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska.

David Ott

David Ott