Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Denial of an Exemption Application From Atwood Forest Products, Inc., 76064-76066 [2015-30803]

Download as PDF 76064 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 234 / Monday, December 7, 2015 / Notices provision of a rear exit, providing that the roof exit meets the release, extension, and identification requirements of the standard. Specifically, the final rule noted ‘‘The NHTSA has established this alternative in order to allow design flexibility while providing for emergency egress in rollover situations’’ [Emphasis added]. Notably, the emergency exit requirements for buses with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds have remained largely unchanged since the establishment of FMVSS No. 217 more than 40 years ago. FMCSA agrees with the commenters. The EMC application did not provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that an Entertainer Coach without rear and/ or roof emergency exits would be able to provide an equivalent level of safety when compared to a compliant vehicle, specifically in a rollover crash scenario. The intent of the requirements for rear and roof emergency exits in S5.2.2.2 of FMVSS No. 217 is quite clear, in that those exits are required to meet the emergency exit release, opening, and identification requirements of the standard ‘‘when the bus is overturned on either side, with the occupant standing facing the exit.’’ Without the required rear and/or roof exits, emergency egress in rollover crash scenarios will likely be limited, possibly leading to increased numbers of fatalities and injuries in such crashes. ACTION: FMCSA Decision FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Based on the above, FMCSA denies the EMC exemption application. FMCSA is unable to determine—as required for an exemption by 49 CFR 381.305(a)—that motor carriers would be able to maintain a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level achieved without the exemption. Issued on: November 30, 2015. T.F. Scott Darling, III, Acting Administrator. BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration [Docket No. FMCSA–2014–0326] Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Denial of an Exemption Application From Atwood Forest Products, Inc. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Dec 04, 2015 Jkt 238001 FMCSA denies an exemption application from Atwood Forest Products, Inc. (Atwood) to allow the use of a camera system installed at the sides and rear of up to 15 of its commercial motor vehicles (CMV) in lieu of rearvision mirrors as specified in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). Section 393.80 of the FMCSRs requires every bus, truck, and truck tractor to be equipped with two rear-vision mirrors, one at each side, firmly attached to the outside of the motor vehicle, and so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway to the rear along both sides of the vehicle. All such mirrors must, at a minimum, meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 111, ‘‘Rearview mirrors,’’ in effect at the time the vehicle was manufactured. While Atwood wanted to install the camera system on its vehicles for use in an evaluation study to evaluate the safety and economic benefits of eliminating outside mirrors, it did not provide evidence to enable the Agency to conclude that motor carriers operating vehicles without any rearvision mirrors could achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying with the regulation. SUMMARY: Mr. Mike Huntley, Vehicle and Roadside Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle Safety, MC–PSV, (202) 366–5370; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590– 0001. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background [FR Doc. 2015–30802 Filed 12–4–15; 8:45 am] AGENCY: Denial of exemption application. Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA– 21) [Pub. L. 105–178, June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 401] amended 49 U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) to provide authority to grant exemptions from the FMCSRs. On August 20, 2004, FMCSA published a final rule (69 FR 51589) implementing section 4007. Under this rule, FMCSA must publish a notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the public with an opportunity to inspect the information relevant to the application, including any safety analyses that have been conducted. The Agency must also provide an opportunity for public comment on the request. PO 00000 Frm 00106 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The Agency reviews the safety analyses and the public comments and determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The decision of the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 381.315(b)). If the Agency denies the request, it must state the reason for doing so. If the decision is to grant the exemption, the notice must specify the person or class of persons receiving the exemption and the regulatory provision or provisions from which an exemption is granted. The notice must specify the effective period of the exemption (up to 2 years) and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.315(c) and 49 CFR 381.300(b)). Atwood Application for Exemption Atwood applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.80 to allow the use of a camera system installed at the sides and rear of CMVs in lieu of rear-vision mirrors as specified in the FMCSRs. A copy of the application is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of this notice. Section 393.80 of the FMCSRs currently requires every bus, truck, and truck tractor to be equipped with two rear-vision mirrors, one at each side, firmly attached to the outside of the motor vehicle, and so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway to the rear along both sides of the vehicle. All such mirrors must, at a minimum, meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 111 in effect at the time the vehicle was manufactured. The purpose of FMVSS No. 111 is to reduce the number of deaths and injuries that occur when the driver of a motor vehicle does not have a clear and reasonably unobstructed view to the rear. In its application, Atwood states: Atwood Forest Products, Inc. is making this request because we are coordinating device development and installation of rear cameras in up to fifteen (15) commercial motor vehicles and trailers. The camera equipment to be installed is going to be located at rear of trailers and at sides of motor vehicles. A monitor is to be located in the cab . . . Regulations currently require that mirrors be installed on each side of [a] tractor. Our system will remove outside mirrors and install cameras at the rear of trailers and cabs and motor vehicles with monitors inside the cabs of tractors. Atwood contends that without the proposed temporary exemption, it will not be able to deploy cameras and monitors in its vehicles because they will be fined for violating the current E:\FR\FM\07DEN1.SGM 07DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 234 / Monday, December 7, 2015 / Notices regulation, which requires rear-vision mirrors. With the exemption, Atwood states that it ‘‘will be able to install the camera systems in a location which will offer the best opportunity to optimize the data and evaluate the benefits of such a system’’ which would eliminate the need for the currently required outside mirrors. Public Comments On August 28, 2014, FMCSA published a notice of the Atwood application and asked for public comment (79 FR 51391). The Agency received four comments. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (‘‘Advocates’’) opposed the exemption application, stating: mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Atwood provides absolutely no analysis of the safety impacts the exemption may have. Atwood provides no actual data regarding safety performance at all. In fact, the applicant failed to provide even a rudimentary study to confirm that the proposed systems would provide performance in accordance with FMVSS 111. Atwood has provided no evidence that their proposed exemption would ensure safety and mitigate the concerns regarding rearview visibility which spurred the FMCSR requirement and the underlying FMVSS. Likewise, the applicant fails to cite any research on the performance of the proposed systems, the visibility coverage offered, the possibility of driver distraction, or even usability studies to confirm that the proposed monitor and camera systems would allow a driver to operate a vehicle as safely as while using traditional, compliant, mirrors. The Application is, therefore, insufficient on its face, as Atwood neither performed nor included any form of safety analysis in their application nor provided any form of explanation as to how the applicant would ensure that the proposed exemption will achieve an equivalent level of safety as required by both the statute and regulation. The requirement for a safety analysis is part of the statute and regulations governing the granting of exemptions precisely to ensure that exemptions which increase risk and decrease safety are not permitted. Two anonymous commenters opposed the exemption application, citing concerns that the camera-based system may be prone to operational failure in the event of electrical outages. One of the commenters stated that the camera-based system could be used ‘‘IN ADDITION to rearview mirrors, but not IN LIEU of’’ the required mirrors. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) stated ‘‘This system quite possibly could have additional safety benefits when utilized by a well-trained driver. However, there are significant questions regarding this application, both in terms of the technology proposed by Atwood, and the method that Atwood and Safety VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Dec 04, 2015 Jkt 238001 Track would use to evaluate the performance of the camera systems. As such, OOIDA urges the FMCSA to only move forward with granting the exemption request under significant restrictions.’’ OOIDA—like the anonymous commenters—noted concerns regarding the reliability of the camera-based system due to its reliance on electronic components. OOIDA encouraged FMCSA to consider mandating some type of redundancy in the system if the exemption application is granted. OOIDA stated: Mandating the inclusion of one external mirror on each side of the cab (even if smaller than current standards) could provide a level of protection against electronics failure. Requiring redundancy in the electronics system might provide an acceptable level of protection. Rather than one monitor, two monitors with independent wiring systems may accomplish a lower risk of failure. While current mirrors are susceptible to environmental conditions that lessen their effectiveness (rain, road, spray, fog) they never fail completely. We encourage the consideration of this exemption request to utilize appropriate technology, but caution against complete reliance on technology (without redundancy)—at least until a suitable time where the technology has proven reliability in the very harsh conditions that a CMV operates within. In addition, OOIDA echoed Advocates’ concerns that Atwood had failed to provide ‘‘any detailed description of the proposed analysis of the effectiveness of the system.’’ FMVSS No. 111; NHTSA Rulemaking Specifically with respect to CMVs, FMVSS No. 111 requires vehicles with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds (excluding trailers) to have mirrors installed on both sides of the vehicle, located so as to provide the driver a view to the rear along both sides of the vehicle and adjustable both in the horizontal and vertical directions to view the rearward scene. On April 7, 2014, and to satisfy the mandate of the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007 (‘‘K.T. Safety Act’’), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a final rule amending FMVSS No. 111 to expand the required field of view for all passenger cars, trucks, multipurpose passenger vehicles, buses, and low-speed vehicles with a GVW of less than 10,000 pounds (79 FR 19178). Specifically, the rule specifies an area behind the vehicle which must be visible to the driver when the vehicle is placed into reverse and other related performance requirements. NHTSA noted that it anticipates vehicle PO 00000 Frm 00107 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 76065 manufacturers will use rearview video systems and in-vehicle visual displays in the near term to meet the requirements of the rule. However, the K.T. Safety Act specifically excluded all vehicles with a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds, motorcycles, and trailers. NHTSA declined to extend scope of the rule in response to public comments recommending that the rule cover larger vehicles not contemplated by the K.T. Safety Act. NHTSA stated: Finally, we also decline to extend today’s final rule to cover trailers, garbage trucks, and other vehicles not contemplated by the K.T. Safety Act. While we acknowledge that many of these vehicles may also have significant blind zones, we have concentrated our research and rulemaking efforts on the vehicles mandated by Congress. We believe that, by focusing on the vehicles types covered in the K.T. Safety Act, this rulemaking is able to more appropriately address the types of crashes that Congress sought to avoid. To include and accommodate vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or more (many of which are used for commercial purposes), the agency may be required to utilize a significantly different approach with different requirements and test procedures that may not be as closely tailored to avoiding the types of crashes contemplated by the K.T. Safety Act. Further, we note that backover crashes involving vehicles with a GVWR less than 10,000 lbs represent a significant majority of both fatalities and injuries. As this rulemaking has continuously focused exclusively on vehicles covered by the K.T. Safety Act, to introduce requirements regarding other vehicles in today’s final rule would raise questions regarding the sufficiency of the scope of notice of this rulemaking. Thus, today’s final rule declines to introduce such requirements at this time. FMCSA Decision The purpose of FMVSS No. 111 is to reduce the number of deaths and injuries that occur when the driver of a motor vehicle does not have a clear and reasonably unobstructed view to the rear. While both Advocates and OOIDA note that the use of camera-based technology for rear visibility may have merit for use in CMVs, and such technologies will be used by light vehicle manufacturers to meet the newly adopted requirements of FMVSS No. 111, the Atwood application did not provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the use of a camera system installed at the sides and rear of CMVs in lieu of rear-vision mirrors as specified in the FMCSRs would be able to provide an equivalent level of safety when compared to a compliant vehicle. Based on the above, FMCSA denies the Atwood exemption application. FMCSA is unable to determine—as required for an exemption by 49 CFR E:\FR\FM\07DEN1.SGM 07DEN1 76066 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 234 / Monday, December 7, 2015 / Notices 381.305(a)—that Atwood would be able to maintain a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level achieved without the exemption. FMCSA notes that while Atwood’s use of the camera-based system in lieu of the rear vision mirrors required via § 393.80 is denied, § 393.3 of the FMCSRs expressly permits the use of additional equipment and accessories (such as the camera-based rear vision system), not inconsistent with or prohibited by the FMCSRs, provided that such equipment and accessories do not decrease the safety of operation of the motor vehicles on which they are used. Issued on: November 30, 2015. T.F. Scott Darling, III, Acting Administrator. [FR Doc. 2015–30803 Filed 12–4–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Surface Transportation Board [Docket No. AB 55 (Sub-No. 746X)] CSX Transportation, Inc.— Abandonment Exemption—in Grant County, W. Va. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES On November 17, 2015, CSX Transportation, Inc. (CSXT), filed with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) a petition under 49 U.S.C. 10502 for exemption from the provisions of 49 U.S.C. 10903 to abandon an approximately 0.66-mile rail line between milepost BUA 15.72 and milepost BUA 16.38, the end of the line, on the Mt. Storm Railroad Track, in Grant County, W.Va. (the Line). The Line includes the station of OPSL 56150 (FSAC 76373), which will remain open, and traverses United States Postal Service Zip Code 26739. According to CSXT, the Western Maryland Railway Company, a predecessor to CSXT, leased approximately 16.38 miles of track and land (between mileposts BUA 0.0 and 16.38), from the predecessor of the Virginia Electric and Power Company VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:36 Dec 04, 2015 Jkt 238001 (VEPCO), the only shipper on the Line, in order to serve VEPCO’s Mt. Storm Power Station. CSXT states that, even though it does not own the Line, it is the only common carrier operating over the Line, and it is seeking to abandon the Line in order to terminate its common carrier obligation. Further, CSXT states that VEPCO operates over the industry track east of milepost BUA 16.38. In addition, CSXT and VEPCO have agreed to amend their lease agreement, excluding the final 0.66 miles of the Line from the lease in order for VEPCO to construct and operate a new coal yard and rapid coal dumper. CSXT states that, upon a grant of abandonment authority, CSXT will reclassify the Line as yard track for VEPCO’s use, and the land and track will be returned to VEPCO. Finally, CSXT states that it will not salvage the Line.1 According to CSXT, the Line does not contain federally granted rights-of-way. Any documentation in CSXT’s possession will be made available promptly to those requesting it. The interest of railroad employees will be protected by the conditions set forth in Oregon Short Line Railroad— Abandonment Portion Goshen Branch Between Firth & Ammon, In Bingham & Bonneville Counties, Idaho, 360 I.C.C. 91 (1979). By issuing this notice, the Board is instituting an exemption proceeding pursuant to 49 U.S.C. 10502(b). A final decision will be issued by March 4, 2016. Any offer of financial assistance (OFA) under 49 CFR 1152.27(b)(2) will be due no later than 10 days after service of a decision granting the petition for exemption. Each OFA must be accompanied by a $1,600 filing fee. See 49 CFR 1002.2(f)(25). All interested persons should be aware that, following abandonment, the Line may be suitable for other public use, including interim trail use. Any request for a public use condition under 49 CFR 1152.28 or for trail use/rail banking under 49 CFR 1152.29 will be due no later than December 24, 2015. Each trail request must be accompanied by a $300 filing fee. See 49 CFR 1002.2(f)(27). All filings in response to this notice must refer to Docket No. AB 55 (Sub-No. 746X) and must be sent to: (1) Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street SW., Washington, DC 20423–0001; and (2) Louis E. Gitomer, 600 Baltimore Ave., Suite 301, Towson, MD 21204. Replies to the petition are due on or before December 24, 2015. Persons seeking further information concerning abandonment procedures may contact the Board’s Office of Public Assistance, Governmental Affairs and Compliance at (202) 245–0238 or refer to the full abandonment regulations at 49 CFR part 1152. Questions concerning environmental issues may be directed to the Board’s Office of Environmental Analysis (OEA) at (202) 245–0305. Assistance for the hearing impaired is available through the Federal Information Relay Service at 1–800– 877–8339. An environmental assessment (EA) (or environmental impact statement (EIS), if necessary) prepared by OEA will be served upon all parties of record and upon any other agencies or persons who comment during its preparation. Other interested persons may contact OEA to obtain a copy of the EA (or EIS). EAs in abandonment proceedings normally will be made available within 60 days of the filing of the petition. The deadline for submission of comments on the EA generally will be within 30 days of its service. Board decisions and notices are available on our Web site at WWW.STB.DOT.GOV. 1 CSXT states it will continue to provide service to VEPCO beginning at milepost BUA 15.72. [FR Doc. 2015–30769 Filed 12–4–15; 8:45 am] PO 00000 Frm 00108 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 Decided: December 1, 2015. By the Board, Rachel D. Campbell, Director, Office of Proceedings. Kenyatta Clay, Clearance Clerk. BILLING CODE 4915–01–P E:\FR\FM\07DEN1.SGM 07DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 234 (Monday, December 7, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 76064-76066]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-30803]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

[Docket No. FMCSA-2014-0326]


Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Denial of an 
Exemption Application From Atwood Forest Products, Inc.

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

ACTION: Denial of exemption application.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: FMCSA denies an exemption application from Atwood Forest 
Products, Inc. (Atwood) to allow the use of a camera system installed 
at the sides and rear of up to 15 of its commercial motor vehicles 
(CMV) in lieu of rear-vision mirrors as specified in the Federal Motor 
Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). Section 393.80 of the FMCSRs 
requires every bus, truck, and truck tractor to be equipped with two 
rear-vision mirrors, one at each side, firmly attached to the outside 
of the motor vehicle, and so located as to reflect to the driver a view 
of the highway to the rear along both sides of the vehicle. All such 
mirrors must, at a minimum, meet the requirements of Federal Motor 
Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 111, ``Rearview mirrors,'' in 
effect at the time the vehicle was manufactured. While Atwood wanted to 
install the camera system on its vehicles for use in an evaluation 
study to evaluate the safety and economic benefits of eliminating 
outside mirrors, it did not provide evidence to enable the Agency to 
conclude that motor carriers operating vehicles without any rear-vision 
mirrors could achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or 
greater than, the level of safety that would be obtained by complying 
with the regulation.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Mike Huntley, Vehicle and Roadside 
Operations Division, Office of Carrier, Driver, and Vehicle Safety, MC-
PSV, (202) 366-5370; Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 1200 
New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 4007 of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century 
(TEA- 21) [Pub. L. 105-178, June 9, 1998, 112 Stat. 401] amended 49 
U.S.C. 31315 and 31136(e) to provide authority to grant exemptions from 
the FMCSRs. On August 20, 2004, FMCSA published a final rule (69 FR 
51589) implementing section 4007. Under this rule, FMCSA must publish a 
notice of each exemption request in the Federal Register (49 CFR 
381.315(a)). The Agency must provide the public with an opportunity to 
inspect the information relevant to the application, including any 
safety analyses that have been conducted. The Agency must also provide 
an opportunity for public comment on the request.
    The Agency reviews the safety analyses and the public comments and 
determines whether granting the exemption would likely achieve a level 
of safety equivalent to or greater than the level that would be 
achieved by the current regulation (49 CFR 381.305). The decision of 
the Agency must be published in the Federal Register (49 CFR 
381.315(b)). If the Agency denies the request, it must state the reason 
for doing so. If the decision is to grant the exemption, the notice 
must specify the person or class of persons receiving the exemption and 
the regulatory provision or provisions from which an exemption is 
granted. The notice must specify the effective period of the exemption 
(up to 2 years) and explain the terms and conditions of the exemption. 
The exemption may be renewed (49 CFR 381.315(c) and 49 CFR 381.300(b)).

Atwood Application for Exemption

    Atwood applied for an exemption from 49 CFR 393.80 to allow the use 
of a camera system installed at the sides and rear of CMVs in lieu of 
rear-vision mirrors as specified in the FMCSRs. A copy of the 
application is included in the docket referenced at the beginning of 
this notice.
    Section 393.80 of the FMCSRs currently requires every bus, truck, 
and truck tractor to be equipped with two rear-vision mirrors, one at 
each side, firmly attached to the outside of the motor vehicle, and so 
located as to reflect to the driver a view of the highway to the rear 
along both sides of the vehicle. All such mirrors must, at a minimum, 
meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 111 in effect at the time the 
vehicle was manufactured. The purpose of FMVSS No. 111 is to reduce the 
number of deaths and injuries that occur when the driver of a motor 
vehicle does not have a clear and reasonably unobstructed view to the 
rear.
    In its application, Atwood states:

    Atwood Forest Products, Inc. is making this request because we 
are coordinating device development and installation of rear cameras 
in up to fifteen (15) commercial motor vehicles and trailers. The 
camera equipment to be installed is going to be located at rear of 
trailers and at sides of motor vehicles. A monitor is to be located 
in the cab . . . Regulations currently require that mirrors be 
installed on each side of [a] tractor. Our system will remove 
outside mirrors and install cameras at the rear of trailers and cabs 
and motor vehicles with monitors inside the cabs of tractors.

    Atwood contends that without the proposed temporary exemption, it 
will not be able to deploy cameras and monitors in its vehicles because 
they will be fined for violating the current

[[Page 76065]]

regulation, which requires rear-vision mirrors. With the exemption, 
Atwood states that it ``will be able to install the camera systems in a 
location which will offer the best opportunity to optimize the data and 
evaluate the benefits of such a system'' which would eliminate the need 
for the currently required outside mirrors.

Public Comments

    On August 28, 2014, FMCSA published a notice of the Atwood 
application and asked for public comment (79 FR 51391). The Agency 
received four comments.
    Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (``Advocates'') opposed the 
exemption application, stating:

    Atwood provides absolutely no analysis of the safety impacts the 
exemption may have. Atwood provides no actual data regarding safety 
performance at all. In fact, the applicant failed to provide even a 
rudimentary study to confirm that the proposed systems would provide 
performance in accordance with FMVSS 111.
    Atwood has provided no evidence that their proposed exemption 
would ensure safety and mitigate the concerns regarding rearview 
visibility which spurred the FMCSR requirement and the underlying 
FMVSS. Likewise, the applicant fails to cite any research on the 
performance of the proposed systems, the visibility coverage 
offered, the possibility of driver distraction, or even usability 
studies to confirm that the proposed monitor and camera systems 
would allow a driver to operate a vehicle as safely as while using 
traditional, compliant, mirrors.
    The Application is, therefore, insufficient on its face, as 
Atwood neither performed nor included any form of safety analysis in 
their application nor provided any form of explanation as to how the 
applicant would ensure that the proposed exemption will achieve an 
equivalent level of safety as required by both the statute and 
regulation. The requirement for a safety analysis is part of the 
statute and regulations governing the granting of exemptions 
precisely to ensure that exemptions which increase risk and decrease 
safety are not permitted.

    Two anonymous commenters opposed the exemption application, citing 
concerns that the camera-based system may be prone to operational 
failure in the event of electrical outages. One of the commenters 
stated that the camera-based system could be used ``IN ADDITION to 
rearview mirrors, but not IN LIEU of'' the required mirrors.
    The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) stated 
``This system quite possibly could have additional safety benefits when 
utilized by a well-trained driver. However, there are significant 
questions regarding this application, both in terms of the technology 
proposed by Atwood, and the method that Atwood and Safety Track would 
use to evaluate the performance of the camera systems. As such, OOIDA 
urges the FMCSA to only move forward with granting the exemption 
request under significant restrictions.''
    OOIDA--like the anonymous commenters--noted concerns regarding the 
reliability of the camera-based system due to its reliance on 
electronic components. OOIDA encouraged FMCSA to consider mandating 
some type of redundancy in the system if the exemption application is 
granted. OOIDA stated:

    Mandating the inclusion of one external mirror on each side of 
the cab (even if smaller than current standards) could provide a 
level of protection against electronics failure. Requiring 
redundancy in the electronics system might provide an acceptable 
level of protection. Rather than one monitor, two monitors with 
independent wiring systems may accomplish a lower risk of failure.
    While current mirrors are susceptible to environmental 
conditions that lessen their effectiveness (rain, road, spray, fog) 
they never fail completely. We encourage the consideration of this 
exemption request to utilize appropriate technology, but caution 
against complete reliance on technology (without redundancy)--at 
least until a suitable time where the technology has proven 
reliability in the very harsh conditions that a CMV operates within.

    In addition, OOIDA echoed Advocates' concerns that Atwood had 
failed to provide ``any detailed description of the proposed analysis 
of the effectiveness of the system.''

FMVSS No. 111; NHTSA Rulemaking

    Specifically with respect to CMVs, FMVSS No. 111 requires vehicles 
with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds (excluding trailers) to have 
mirrors installed on both sides of the vehicle, located so as to 
provide the driver a view to the rear along both sides of the vehicle 
and adjustable both in the horizontal and vertical directions to view 
the rearward scene. On April 7, 2014, and to satisfy the mandate of the 
Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007 (``K.T. 
Safety Act''), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 
(NHTSA) published a final rule amending FMVSS No. 111 to expand the 
required field of view for all passenger cars, trucks, multipurpose 
passenger vehicles, buses, and low-speed vehicles with a GVW of less 
than 10,000 pounds (79 FR 19178). Specifically, the rule specifies an 
area behind the vehicle which must be visible to the driver when the 
vehicle is placed into reverse and other related performance 
requirements. NHTSA noted that it anticipates vehicle manufacturers 
will use rearview video systems and in-vehicle visual displays in the 
near term to meet the requirements of the rule.
    However, the K.T. Safety Act specifically excluded all vehicles 
with a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds, motorcycles, and trailers. 
NHTSA declined to extend scope of the rule in response to public 
comments recommending that the rule cover larger vehicles not 
contemplated by the K.T. Safety Act. NHTSA stated:

    Finally, we also decline to extend today's final rule to cover 
trailers, garbage trucks, and other vehicles not contemplated by the 
K.T. Safety Act. While we acknowledge that many of these vehicles 
may also have significant blind zones, we have concentrated our 
research and rulemaking efforts on the vehicles mandated by 
Congress. We believe that, by focusing on the vehicles types covered 
in the K.T. Safety Act, this rulemaking is able to more 
appropriately address the types of crashes that Congress sought to 
avoid. To include and accommodate vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs 
or more (many of which are used for commercial purposes), the agency 
may be required to utilize a significantly different approach with 
different requirements and test procedures that may not be as 
closely tailored to avoiding the types of crashes contemplated by 
the K.T. Safety Act. Further, we note that backover crashes 
involving vehicles with a GVWR less than 10,000 lbs represent a 
significant majority of both fatalities and injuries. As this 
rulemaking has continuously focused exclusively on vehicles covered 
by the K.T. Safety Act, to introduce requirements regarding other 
vehicles in today's final rule would raise questions regarding the 
sufficiency of the scope of notice of this rulemaking. Thus, today's 
final rule declines to introduce such requirements at this time.

FMCSA Decision

    The purpose of FMVSS No. 111 is to reduce the number of deaths and 
injuries that occur when the driver of a motor vehicle does not have a 
clear and reasonably unobstructed view to the rear. While both 
Advocates and OOIDA note that the use of camera-based technology for 
rear visibility may have merit for use in CMVs, and such technologies 
will be used by light vehicle manufacturers to meet the newly adopted 
requirements of FMVSS No. 111, the Atwood application did not provide 
sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the use of a camera system 
installed at the sides and rear of CMVs in lieu of rear-vision mirrors 
as specified in the FMCSRs would be able to provide an equivalent level 
of safety when compared to a compliant vehicle.
    Based on the above, FMCSA denies the Atwood exemption application. 
FMCSA is unable to determine--as required for an exemption by 49 CFR

[[Page 76066]]

381.305(a)--that Atwood would be able to maintain a level of safety 
equivalent to, or greater than, the level achieved without the 
exemption.
    FMCSA notes that while Atwood's use of the camera-based system in 
lieu of the rear vision mirrors required via Sec.  393.80 is denied, 
Sec.  393.3 of the FMCSRs expressly permits the use of additional 
equipment and accessories (such as the camera-based rear vision 
system), not inconsistent with or prohibited by the FMCSRs, provided 
that such equipment and accessories do not decrease the safety of 
operation of the motor vehicles on which they are used.

    Issued on: November 30, 2015.
T.F. Scott Darling, III,
Acting Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2015-30803 Filed 12-4-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-EX-P