Mr. Thomas L. Wright
Coordinator, Technical Support
New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles
CN 179
Trenton, NJ 08666

Dear Mr. Wright:

This responds to your letter of July 15, 1994, to Robert Hellmuth of this agency requesting an opinion whether brush guards offered as accessories for Range Rovers and installed in front of headlamp units are in violation of Standard No. 108.

Our letter is based upon the configurations of "brush bars" depicted as accessory equipment in a 1994 Range Rover brochure. The brochure notes that brush bars "may be illegal for on-road use in some states. Please check local regulations before purchase, installation, or use." We note that this advisory applies to the rear lamp guards as well. The purpose of the brush bar is to offer protection to the grille, radiator, and front and rear lamps, and it does so by incorporating three slender horizontal bars in front of the lenses of the front and rear lamps.

Paragraph S7.8.5 of Standard No. 108 states that headlamps when activated "shall not have any styling ornament or other feature, such as a translucent cover or grille, in front of the lens." The lamp guard portion of the brush bar is the type of "other feature . . . in front of the lens" that is prohibited by Standard No. 108. Thus, under Federal law, a Range Rover could not be displayed for sale and sold with a brush bar installed unless the lamp guards had been removed. This should present no problem as, according to the brochure, the "lamp protectors are easily removable for cleaning and maintenance." In our view, the proper time for installation of the lamp protectors is when the vehicle begins to be used off-road.

Although there is no similar direct prohibition in Standard No. 108 applicable to other vehicle lamps, the parking lamps, turn signal lamps, and rear lamps are required to conform with the photometric requirements of Standard No. 108 when the lamp guards are in place. This is based upon

two paragraphs of the standard. S5.3.1.1 prohibits any part of a vehicle from preventing parking lamps, turn signal lamps, and rear lamps from meeting the required photometric output. S5.1.3 prohibits the installation of supplementary motor vehicle equipment that impairs the effectiveness of lighting equipment that Standard No. 108 requires as original equipment.

The guards are designed for maintenance by the owner, and their installation by the owner after purchase of the Range Rover would not be in violation of Federal law, even if installed for on- road use. Operation of the Range Rover is subject only to State law, and a State may forbid on-road use of a Range Rover with the lamp guards installed if it so chooses.

Sincerely,

Philip R. Recht Chief Counsel ref:108 d:10/27/94