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DOT proposes Class 3-5 rear-object-detection rule

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has proposed that straight trucks weighing between 10,000 and 26,000 lb. be equipped with rear object detection systems. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on Sept. 12, 2005. (49 CFR, Part 571; Docket No. NHTSA 2004-19239.)

Under the proposed rule, OEMs would be required to install on new vehicles either a cross-view mirror system or a rear video system that would make the area to the rear of the vehicle visible to the driver.

Although NHTSA considered the use of non-visual devices, such as audible backup alarms, it decided not to include them as options to meet the proposed rule because it determined that primary responsibility for objection detection should lie with the driver. Specifically, drivers must be able to "make visible confirmation that the pathway is clear" before backing up.

The agency is also interested in determining whether the proposed rule should be extended to other weight classes, as well as whether existing straight trucks engaged in interstate commerce should be retrofitted to meet the proposed reg. The proposed rule would apply to vehicles made beginning one year after publication of a final rule.

Comments, which are due by November 14, 2005, can be made online at or The can also be faxed to 202-493-2251 or mailed to Docket Management Facility, DOT, 400 Seventh S. NW, Room PL-401, Washington, DC 20590-001.

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