|Mr. Dennis G. Moore
Sierra Products, Inc.
1113 Greenville Road
Livermore, CA 94550
Dear Mr. Moore:
This is in reply to your letter of March 2, 2000, to Taylor Vinson of
As you are aware, Mark Rodgers of American Products Company (APC) was
informed in a telephone conversation with an engineer from the Office of
Safety Performance Standards that it appeared that the company's All
Clear replacement rear vehicle lighting assemblies (which they import
from China) are illegal did not comply with our safety standard and
therefore could not legally be sold as replacement equipment, even
though they were being advertised "For Off Road Use Only." You
approve of this but have asked three questions:
"1. As I understand the 1966 Vehicle Safety Act . . . Rulemaking
Standards have a right and a legal obligation to the American Public to
decree these kind of lights as "Illegal"
. . . True?"
Pursuant to its authority under the National Traffic and Motor
Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) has promulgated a Federal motor vehicle safety
standard that requires
replacement lighting equipment to comply with the same requirements as
are applicable to the original equipment that it replaces (see S5.8.1 of
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108). If the
replacement lighting equipment fails to comply, it may not be sold and
the manufacturer (defined to include the importer) of the equipment must
make a determination of noncompliance and inform us of that fact, and
then notify purchasers and remedy the noncompliance. If the manufacturer
fails to make such a determination, NHTSA may make the determination
instead and order the manufacturer to notify and remedy.
"2. Without a printed Legal interpretation on
this matter somewhere in Accessible Public Files . . .
who is going to know of this decision. Therefore, why hasn't this action
been publicly printed for all concerned to read?"
As required by 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 and by 49 CFR Part 573, APC
filed a Noncompliance Information Report with us on November 12, 1999
covering clear taillamp lenses that it had imported. The Recall Campaign
Number is 99E-039. All Part 573
Reports are available to the public in NHTSA's Technical Reference
section, and all recalls are tracked on the agency's internet Website,
In addition, we have responded to a request from a law enforcement
officer in Arizona for an interpretation on the law on replacement
taillamp lenses that are marked as intended for -off road. I enclose a
copy for your information.
"3. Under what circumstances will NHTSA continue to
decree Obviously "Non-Compliant", or "Confusing,"
or "Distracting" Lighting products as
"illegal" for O.E.M. use by U.S. Vehicle
Manufacturers, or for U.S. Aftermarket Sales . . . for the Replacement
of Originally Mandated Lights?"
Standard No. 108 will continue to require replacement taillamp lenses
and side and rear reflex reflectors to be red, and we foresee no
circumstances under which we will change that requirement.
You have asked that we post your letter and our reply on NHTSA's
website "so readers can compare my questions with your
answers." As I indicated in response to your second question, it is
our practice to post copies of our interpretations on our website. This
letter repeats the questions you have asked, and it will be posted
shortly after I have signed it.
I hope that this answers your questions.
Frank Seales, Jr.