NHTSA Considering Replacing Mirrors with Cameras on TrucksDecember 2, 2019
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking feedback from the public about replacing mirrors with camera-based rear visibility systems, or camera monitor systems (CMS). Current federal safety standards require that all vehicles be equipped with rearview mirrors so that truck drivers can see objects that are on either side of the truck and those that are traveling behind. While the cameras may help improve rear and side visibility, there are potential safety risks, including screens that are too bright, which can blind drivers to objects in the road. The NHTSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in response to petitions from Daimler Trucks North America and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, who are hoping to install the CMS in their new vehicles.
Large commercial trucks have sizeable blind spots that are a major factor in serious truck accidents across the country. In fact, an entire vehicle can be hidden in a truck’s blind spot, which means that there are potentially several vehicles that a truck driver may not see if they are driving in close proximity to the truck. There are five separate blind spots that make it difficult for truck drivers to see other motorists, cyclists, or pedestrians in the vicinity, including:
- Directly behind the truck
- To the right of the truck, behind where the passenger sits
- Directly in front of the truck
- To the right of the truck, in front of where the driver sits
- To the right of the truck and trailer, extending backward
A CMS can help drivers maneuver busy roads and highways more safely by providing a wider angle of view than traditional mirrors. The system’s built-in LEDs also provide better visibility in low light conditions. Ultimately, these benefits can help prevent devastating truck accidents that can cause severe injuries, property damage, and fatalities.
Safety Issues Associated with Camera Monitor Systems
While the benefits of a CMS are encouraging, there are safety concerns that the NHTSA is investigating. For example, in prototype and pre-production of a CMS, some drivers reported that the system’s electronic display was too bright, and that it gave off a glare that affected their vision. This was particularly problematic at night. In addition, the agency found that the camera lens could be concealed by raindrops. The NHTSA would also like to obtain more information about whether truck drivers will have a difficult time adjusting to using a CMS.
Motorists need to be aware of where a large truck’s blind spots are located and avoid driving in those areas, if possible. When passing or following a large truck, motorists should use extra caution, and put a safe distance between their vehicle and the truck to ensure that the truck driver can see them and avoid a serious collision.
Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Truck Accident Victims
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a truck accident, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We have a proven track record of reaching successful outcomes for our clients, including those involved in devastating truck accidents. Protecting your legal rights is our top priority and we will not stop fighting for you until we secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
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