Waymo, Aurora seek warning device exemption for automated trucks

March 3, 2023

Mark Schremmer


Waymo LLC and Aurora Operations want an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations regarding the required placement of warning devices on stopped commercial motor vehicles.

Specifically, Waymo and Aurora are asking the agency for an exemption that would allow them to operate automated trucks that are equipped with warning beacons mounted on the truck cab instead of traditional warning devices required by regulations.

The exemption request was published in the Federal Register on Friday, March 3. Current regulations state that “whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver shall, as soon as possible,” … place warning devices in a specific manner. The regulations also require all exterior lamps to be steady-burning.

The five-year exemption would exempt the companies from requirements regarding the placement of the warning devices, the steady-burning lamp requirement. It also would allow Waymo and Aurora to use a warning device for stopped vehicles that isn’t acceptable under the current rules.

“Waymo and Aurora believe it is possible to achieve the safety purpose of the warning device in an alternative way by using forward- and rearward-facing amber flashing lights mounted on the cab at a height above the upper edge of the sideview mirrors,” the notice stated. “Waymo and Aurora each separately tested variants of such devices and have concluded that the use of the cab-mounted warning devices was equally or more effective in enabling road users to recognize and react to the potential hazard presented by the stopped commercial motor vehicle.”

How to comment

The public will have through April 3 to comment on the exemption request from Waymo and Aurora. To do so, click here or go to the Regulations.gov website and enter Docket No. FMCSA-2023-0071. LL