Senior Trooper W. L. Hill

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This document retrieved from the NHTSA legal interpretations database.

Senior Trooper W. L. Hill
Texas Department of Public Safety
Highway Patrol
2720 Industrial Boulevard
Abilene, TX 79606

Dear Trooper Hill:

This is in reply to your request to Taylor Vinson of this Office for our opinion on the following two questions regarding compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment. You are requesting this information in connection with a court case in which a driver was cited for operating a vehicle equipped with a replacement taillamp consisting of a clear lens and a red bulb. You mentioned the driver's opinion that Mercedes-Benz was offering such a lamp.

Your first question is whether, to the best of our knowledge, a motor vehicle taillamp is being manufactured, either as original or replacement equipment, which includes a red bulb and a clear lens, and which is certified as complying with Standard No. 108. Our answer is that, to the best of our knowledge, it is not economically feasible under the current state of the art to manufacture a taillamp with a red bulb and a clear lens that complies with Standard No. 108's taillamp requirements, and we are not aware of any such product.

Your second question is whether red reflective tape that is affixed to a vehicle after a protective backing is removed can be a rear reflex reflector replacement under Standard No. 108. The tape has no DOT marking. The answer is no; the original rear reflex reflector, whether incorporated in the lamp or separately mounted on the body, would have been made of plastic in order to comply with SAE Standard J594f, Reflex Reflectors, incorporated by reference in Standard No. 108 as the requirement for reflex reflectors. A replacement rear reflex reflector would also need to be made of plastic to meet these requirements.

If you have any further questions, you may call Taylor Vinson at 202-366-5263.


Frank Seales, Jr.
Chief Counsel



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This site is not affiliated with any Federal, State, or Local organization.  The goal is to be as factual as possible, however, the views expressed on this site are the opinions of the author and should not be used to determine the legality of motor vehicle equipment in accordance with Federal laws.  If you require a legal interpretation of your specific situation concerning FMVSS No. 108, you should contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Chief Counsel.