Ms. Patricia Cunningham
London Taxi North America
80 Union Avenue
Sudbury, MA 01776
Dear Ms. Cunningham,
This is in response to your interpretation request via e-mail dated December 13, 2002, and your conversation with Ms. Deirdre Fujita of my staff, asking about Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213, Child restraint systems. In your letter, you state that your company intends to import taxi vehicles that have an "integrated" (built-in) child booster seat in the rear. You further state that "[t]he dummy size we tested with and designated for use in our [built-in] booster seat is the 6 year old" and that the seat is recommended only for children 49 to 80 pounds (22 36 kg). You ask if the booster seat must comply with the seat back requirements of FMVSS No. 213, even though only the 6-year-old dummy is used to test the booster seat. As explained below, the answer to your question is no.
Under 49 U.S.C. 30112 a person may not import into the United States, "any motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment manufactured on or after the date an applicable motor vehicle safety standard prescribed under this chapter takes effect unless the vehicle or equipment complies with the standard[.]" This compliance requirement includes child restraint systems, which are subject to the provisions of FMVSS No. 213.
FMVSS No. 213 specifies requirements for child restraint systems, including built-in child restraint systems, in order to reduce injuries to children in motor vehicles. S18.104.22.168 of FMVSS No. 213 states:
Except as provided in S22.214.171.124, each child restraint system other than a car bed shall provide restraint against rearward movement of the head of the child (rearward in relation to the child) by means of a continuous seat back which is an integral part of the system[.]
S126.96.36.199 specifies seat back height requirements, seat back width requirements, and rearward rotation limits of test dummies. S188.8.131.52 requires that conformance to the requirements of S184.108.40.206 is determined using the dummy that corresponds to the heaviest weight for which the system is recommended. Under S7.1, a system recommended for use by a child with a weight of 40 pounds (18 kg) or greater would use the 6-year-old dummy described in 49 CFR Part 572 Subpart I for compliance testing. However, S220.127.116.11 states that the 6-year-old dummy is not to be used to determine the applicability of or compliance with S18.104.22.168.
The built-in booster seats in the vehicles you intend to import are recommended for children in the weight range of 49 to 80 pounds (22 to 36 kg), and therefore would require use of the 6-year-old-dummy to determine compliance with S22.214.171.124. Because under S126.96.36.199 the 6-year-old dummy is not used for this determination and the built-in booster seats are not recommended for use by children of a weight that would be tested with a different dummy, the taxi booster seats do not have to comply with S188.8.131.52.
I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any further questions please contact Chris Calamita of my staff at (202) 366-2992.