Mr. Lance Tunick
    Vehicle Services Consulting, Inc.
    P.O. Box 23078
    Santa Fe, NM87502-3078

    Dear Mr. Tunick:

    This responds to your October 21, 2005, letter in which you request an interpretation of the labeling requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard ("FMVSS") No. 208, Occupant Crash Protection. Specifically, you asked whether a manufacturer of a vehicle without a back seat may modify the pictogram depicted in Figure 11 of FMVSS No. 208 to show only one row of seats. As explained below, modification of the pictogram is not permitted.

    S4.5.1(b)(3) of FMVSS No. 208 requires vehicle manufacturers to permanently affix an air bag warning label to the sun visor at each front outboard seating position that is equipped with an inflatable restraint. The air bag warning label is intended to provide information on the potential hazards of air bags. In order to ensure uniformity of design, S4.5.1(b) specifies that the warning label must "conform in content to the label shown in Figure 11".

    As you have correctly noted, S4.5.1(b)(3)(iv) and (v) permit manufacturers to omit the text relating to back seats for vehicles that have no back seat. These provisions were adopted in response to comments from vehicle manufacturers questioning the appropriateness of the "back seat" text for vehicles that do not have a back seat. While the text of the label may be modified, there is no similar provision that permits manufacturers to modify the pictogram. Thus, a vehicle manufacturer may not modify the pictogram.

    I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any further questions please contact Mr. Larry Prange of my staff, at (202) 366-2992.


    Stephen P. Wood
    Acting Chief Counsel