Mr. Tom Hoholik
135 Chippewa Avenue
Dear Mr. Hoholik:
This responds to your request for an interpretation concerning National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requirements which your product, the "Line Guide," must meet. Your product is designed to help drivers of motor homes, fifth wheel trucks, buses, and those who tow trailers stay in their highway lanes, without "constantly checking their mirrors."
Your website, www.gadgetinc.com, provides information about the Line Guide. A photograph of a Line Guide shows a horizontal black rod attached to a bar with two rubber suction cups. Three vertical prongs (which you call stems), at equal distances from each other, project from the horizontal rod. The Line Guide mounts directly on the dashboard using Velcro or windshield with suction cups, with power supplied through the vehicles cigarette lighter. Your website states:
The driver then uses the three stems of the Line Guide to help maintain position. Simply put when the center stem is on the centerline of the road the vehicle is in its lane. If the left is on the centerline the vehicle has drifted to the right & if the right stem is on the centerline the vehicle has drifted left. With just a glance at Line Guide you know right where you are.
The Line Guide is sold both with and without light emitting diodes (LEDs). If the unit is mounted facing the road, the lights will shine on the windshield. If the unit is mounted facing the driver, the LEDs can be viewed directly.
By way of background information, NHTSA is authorized to issue the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) for new motor vehicles and new items of motor vehicle equipment. NHTSA does not provide approvals of motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment. Instead, manufacturers are required to certify that their vehicles and equipment meet applicable standards.
NHTSA has not issued any FMVSSs that are directly applicable to your product. We note that if your product was installed in a vehicle by a manufacturer or other business, they would have responsibilities relating to ensuring that the vehicle met, or continued to meet, all FMVSSs with the product installed. However, given that your product is mounted to the vehicle by Velcro or suction cups and is powered by the cigarette lighter, we assume that it would be installed by vehicle owners. In this situation, our safety standards would not affect the sale or installation of your product.
Beyond compliance with relevant Federal safety standards, manufacturers of motor vehicle equipment have additional responsibilities, including a requirement to notify purchasers about safety-related defects and to provide a remedy free of charge, even if their equipment is not covered by a safety standard. 49 U.S.C. 30118-30120.
In addition, you should be aware that other governmental entities may have authority over your product. For example, the Departments Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has jurisdiction over commercial vehicles and interstate motor carriers operating in the United States. You may wish to contact FMCSA for further information about any FMCSA regulations that may apply to your system. In addition, States have the authority to regulate the use and licensing of vehicles operating within their jurisdictions. Therefore, you may wish to check with the Department of Motor Vehicles in any State in which the equipment will be sold or used regarding any such requirements.
I have enclosed a fact sheet entitled "Information for New Manufacturers of Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment."I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Dorothy Nakama of my staff at this address or by telephone at (202) 366-2992.