Rear detection needn’t be visual, ATA says

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Fleets should not be limited to visual-only rear-detection devices, the American Trucking Associations said in response to a federal proposal to require rear-detection systems on straight trucks.

The group’s comment, filed Nov. 14, responded to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposal that straight trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds to 26,000 pounds have a detection system to alert drivers of anything directly behind the vehicle. Vehicle manufacturers could satisfy the proposal by installing mirrors or video cameras that would make the space behind the truck visible to the driver.

Fleets should not be limited to such devices, the ATA said, noting that backup alarms and warning devices could work as well. Other industry groups also voiced concerns: The Truck Manufacturers Association said it may be better to standardize equipment installation, rather than mandating it.

The Truck Equipment Association said the equipment would cost more than the NHTSA’s estimate of $212 per truck . “Even assuming a labor rate of $50/hour, and no time for compliance determination or placement strategy, a video system is likely to cost between $450 and $835,” the association said.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, an organization of consumer groups, safety activists and insurance companies, called the proposal insufficient. Cross-view mirrors, the organization said, “are clearly less effective than rear-mounted video systems with in-cab monitors.”