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Old 12-05-2010, 10:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Rear View Mirror/Camera Combo?

Been thinking of how to meet the intent of various state requirements for
outside rear view mirrors.

The person credited with inventing the rear view mirror is a man named
Ray Harroun, an engineer with Marmon, then a car maker. Harroun inserted
a mirror in his car, a Marmon Wasp... Ray's invention took place in the spring
of 1911.
Who Invented the Rear View Mirror?

That car is an ecomodder's dream: boat tail, disc wheels...

In every state mirrors are required to provide a view to 200 ft. behind the
vehicle. On the surface, that's fine, but it's nearly meaningless. About all it
seems to mean is the mirror has to be shiny. Whether or not an object can
be seen at 200 ft. is more a function of alignment. Nothing is said about the
area or angular sweep that must be viewable.

(The fly in the ointment. Of all the states, only Vermont specifies the area for
the required mirror; not less than 5" diameter or less than 25 sq. in. Surely
the legislators in VT know that a 5" diameter circle has an area of 19.6 sq. in.
Mirror Laws by State (U.S.) - EcoModder

Regulations that require a certain specific thing are old school. In the case of
rear view mirrors, when the regulation was first implemented, a reflecting
mirror was the only way to get the desired rear-ward view. A more modern
and enlightened method of regulation is to specify the desired outcome, and
let the industry/market/research provide ways to achieve it. This sort of
regulation is performance based and allows for innovation.

Like it or not, all state rear view regs are firmly mired in the past.

So, in thinking about a mirror delete, why not meet the regs half-way. Why
not a mirror, a very small one, say 1 in. diameter, and have the mirror
reflect into a web cam which shows the view on a smallish flat screen inside
the car.

It seems like the combined mirror/camera could be be incorporated in an
aerodynamic package/pod ~1-1/2 in in diameter and perhaps 4 in. long. Of
necessity, the mirror would have to be visible to a patrol officer on close

Somewhere to start, although I think a larger display screen is in order:
Ant Racing Rear View Camera System - Tobefast

I wish that were technically competent enough to put something like this
together and see how it would be received by the local boys-in-blue.

Last edited by Rokeby; 12-05-2010 at 11:09 AM..
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Old 12-05-2010, 12:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The safety inspectors in my area are interpreting the Mass rules anyway to mean "stock" mirrors. So I had to remount the stock mirrors to get an inspection sticker; and then remount my video mirrors.
Sincerely, Neil

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Old 12-05-2010, 12:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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While I had my camera mirrors installed, I was never once pulled over by police, even in 9 states I drove through with it like that. I'm not sure what the inspection people would say, however. For the most part, they just want to get it over with and don't want a fuss, and keeping to the word of the law is the easiest way.
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Old 12-05-2010, 05:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Rear View Mirror/Camera Combo; Legal in 49 States?

FWIW, I think that US DOT/NHTSA regulations provide guidance for vehicle
manufacturers and after-market parts makers.
State regulations are enforced on vehicle drivers/operators.

In case you've been wondering, here's what US DOT/NHTSA have to say,
there are field of view requirements in S5.2.1:
(Current rear view camera proposal not included.)

Natíl Highway Traffic Safety Admin., DOT ß571.111

ß571.111 Standard No. 111; Rearview mirrors.

S1. Scope. This standard specifies requirements for the performance
and location of rearview mirrors.
S2. Purpose. The purpose of this standard 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.
S3. Application. This standard applies to passenger cars, multipurpose pas-
senger vehicles, trucks, buses, schoolbuses and motorcycles.
S4. Definitions.
Convex mirror means a mirror having a curved reflective surface whose shape
is the same as that of the exterior surface of a section of a sphere.
Effective mirror surface means the portions of a mirror that reflect images,
excluding the mirror rim or mounting brackets.
Unit magnification mirror means a plane or flat mirror with a reflective
surface through which the angular height and width of the image of an ob-
ject is equal to the angular height and width of the object when viewed di-
rectly at the same distance except for flaws that do not exceed normal manu-
facturing tolerances. For the purposes of this regulation a prismatic day-
night adjustment rearview mirror one of whose positions provides unit mag-
nification is considered a unit magnification mirror.
S5. Requirements for passenger cars.
S5.1 Inside rearview mirror. [Not Applicable in this discussion.]
S5.2 Outside rearview mirroródriverís side.
S5.2.1 Field of view. Each passenger car shall have an outside mirror of unit
magnification. The mirror shall provide the driver a view of a level road
surface extending to the horizon from a line, perpendicular to a longitudinal
plane tangent to the driverís side of the vehicle at the widest point, extending
2.4 m out from the tangent plane 10.7 m behind the driverís eyes, with the seat
in the rearmost position.
The line of sight may be partially obscured by rear
body or fender contours. The location of the driverís eye reference points
shall be those established in Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 104
(ß571.104) or a nominal location appropriate for any 95th percentile male
S5.2.2 Mounting. The mirror mounting shall provide a stable support for
the mirror, and neither the mirror nor the mounting shall protrude farther
than the widest part of the vehicle body except to the extent necessary to
produce a field of view meeting or exceeding the requirements of S5.2.1.
The mirror shall not be obscured by the unwiped portion of the windshield,
and shall be adjustable by tilting in both horizontal and vertical directions from
the driverís seated position. The mirror and mounting shall be free of sharp
points or edges that could contribute to pedestrian injury.
S5.3 Outside rearview mirror passengerís side. Each passenger car whose
inside rearview mirror does not meet the field of view requirements of S5.1.1
shall have an outside mirror of unit magnification or a convex mirror in-
stalled on the passengerís side. The mirror mounting shall provide a stable
support and be free of sharp points or edges that could contribute to pedes-
trian injury. The mirror need not be adjustable from the driverís seat but
shall be capable of adjustment by tilting in both horizontal and vertical
S5.4 Convex mirror requirements. Each motor vehicle using a convex
mirror to meet the requirements of S5.3 shall comply with the following
S5.4.1 When each convex mirror is tested in accordance with the proce-
dures specified in S12. of this standard, none of the radii of curvature readings
shall deviate from the average radius of curvature by more than plus or
minus 12.5 percent.
S5.4.2 Each convex mirror shall have permanently and indelibly marked at the
lower edge of the mirrorís reflective surface, in letters not less than 4.8 mm
nor more than 6.4 mm high the words ĎĎObjects in Mirror Are Closer Than
They Appear.íí
S5.4.3 The average radius of curvature of each such mirror, as determined by
using the procedure in S12., shall be not less than 889 mm and not more than
1,651 mm.


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