The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is moving forward with plans to allow for replacement of side view mirrors on trucks with a camera system that provides a fuller and more clear view. Part of the reason that the proposed change was put into effect is that an exemption was applied for by trucking technology company, Stoneridge, so that they could use their camera system in place of the standard side mirrors. Stoneridge received a five year exemption from the FMCSA, allowing them to use the technology rather than the standard oversized mirrors.
The camera system created by Stoneridge is called MirrorEye and it does in fact have some advantages over the bulky mirrors of most transport trucks. For one, the image is very clear and provides a larger field of vision, giving drivers an added element of safety by eliminating potential blind spots. The technology is especially helpful while driving at night when mirrors can provide only minimal visibility and have the added drawback of glare from headlights. MirrorEye provides a crisp, clean image at all times of day and driving conditions, as well as being self-contained and requiring little to no maintenance or upkeep.
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Benefits Of MirrorEye: Blind Spot Elimination & Fuel Economy
While having an improved image and visibility is great, the real benefit of the MirrorEye system is that it virtually eliminates blind spots. Since the viewing screens are mounted internally in the cab of the truck, they are easily viewable for the driver and also reduce the drag caused by side mirrors, which in turn improves fuel efficiency during transport. Due to the obvious safety and performance benefits of the system, the FMCSA was more than happy to allow an exemption to the existing regulations.
According to some reports the implementation of the MirrorEye system could potentially reduce fuel consumption by nearly 3% for those trucks which use it. As mentioned above, this is mainly because of the aerodynamic drag caused by side mirrors, which are not necessary with cameras. Though the cameras are also mounted outside of the vehicle, they are designed in a housing that is compact and aerodynamic, much more so than mirrors.
Rearview Camera Resources
FMCSA Stoneridge Exemption (PDF) - The official release from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that explains the reasoning behind the exemption, which is brief and mainly centers around safety.
Driver Assistance Technology - The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations archive of articles and information about driver assistance technologies like rearview cameras, automatic braking systems, and emergency warning systems.