Mr. William E. Lawler
    IMMI
    18881 U.S. 31 North
    P.O. Box 408
    Westfield, IN 46074-0408


    Dear Mr. Lawler:

    This letter responds to your request for interpretation of the labeling requirements of S4.5 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 208, Occupant crash protection (FMVSS No. 208) as they relate to an inflatable tubular structure installed inside a fire truck. The fire truck would be within a range of 30,000-70,000 lb gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). According to your letter, the inflatable device is designed and installed to prevent the occupant's head from striking the side window or door frame during a rollover. The inflatable structure you describe is not subject to the labeling requirements of FMVSS No. 208 or any other safety standards.

    S4.5.1(b)(1) of FMVSS No. 208 states that "except as otherwise provided in S4.5.1(b)(2), [1] each vehicle shall have a label permanently affixed to either side of the sun visor, at the manufacturer's option, at each front outboard seating position that is equipped with an inflatable restraint." The subparagraph then goes on to state what the required label must look like. The label requirements of S4.5.1(b)(1) are limited to vehicles with the type of inflatable restraint system defined in S4.1.5.1(b). That paragraph defines an inflatable restraint system as an air bag that is activated in a crash.

    S4.1.5 applies to all passenger cars manufactured on or after September 1, 1996. A corollary provision, S4.2.6, applies to trucks, buses, and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a GVWR of 8,500 pounds or less and an unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 pounds or less manufactured on or after September 1, 1997. S4.1.5.3, which applies to passenger cars manufactured on or after September 1, 1997, and S4.2.6.2, which applies to those vehicles addressed by S4.2.6 manufactured on or after September 1, 1998, require that vehicles falling within their purview meet the frontal crash protection requirements of S5.1 by means of an inflatable restraint system, as defined in S4.1.5(b). These types of inflatable restraint systems are the only ones subject to the labeling requirements of S4.5.1(b)(1).

    The inflatable tubular restraint described in your letter does not appear to be designed to provide protection in a frontal crash. Instead, your letter states that they are designed to provide head protection in a rollover crash. As such, they are not subject to FMVSS No. 208, including its labeling requirements. Moreover, as discussed in a March 23, 1999, interpretation to Lawrence F. Henneberger, Esq. (copy enclosed), the labeling requirements of FMVSS No. 208 apply only to passenger cars and to trucks, buses and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a GVWR of 8,500 lb or less and an unloaded vehicle weight of 5,500 lb or less. There are presently no other labeling requirements that would apply to these inflatable tubular structures.

    I hope this letter addresses your concerns. Please feel free to contact Rebecca MacPherson of my staff at (202) 366-2992 should you have any additional questions.

    Sincerely,

    Jacqueline Glassman
    Chief Counsel

    Enclosure
    ref:208
    d.7/7/03



    [1] S4.5.1(b)(2) sets forth the sun visor labeling requirements for vehicles certified to the advanced air bag requirements adopted by NHTSA on May 12, 2000 (65 FR 30680). Those requirements are not applicable to the vehicle in question.