Mr. Eric Lotzer
Precision Equipment Manufacturing
2719 40th Avenue North
Dear Mr. Lotzer:
This responds to your request for an interpretation concerning National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requirements that apply to your companys construction roll-off trailers and to the trucks that pull the trailers.
In your letter, you state that Precision Equipment Manufacturing (PEM) seeks to improve the design and functionality of your trailers, making them more convenient (yet safe) for the customer to control. At present, your trailers can only be operated from outside the truck that pulls the trailers, i.e. , the driver/operator must be outside the cab of the truck to raise, lower, extend and retract the trailer to unload materials. In the future, PEM would like to make the trailers operational from inside the cab of the truck. You wish to know if there are any Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) that establish requirements for operating controls from inside the cab of a truck pulling the trailer.
By way of background information, NHTSA is authorized to issue 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 established FMVSSs that apply to trucks and to trailers (See 49 CFR Part 571). However, we have not issued any FMVSSs that specify requirements for in-cabcontrols for operating a trailer. We note that if the in-cab controls are installed in a vehicle by a manufacturer or other business (other than the truck or trailer manufacturer), the business installing the in-cab controls would have responsibilities relating to ensuring that the vehicle met, or continued to meet, all FMVSSs with the in-cab controls installed. The details of these responsibilities are explained in the enclosed fact sheet referred to at the end of this letter.
Beyond compliance with relevant Federal safety standards, manufacturers of motor vehicles (i.e. , trucks and trailers) have additional responsibilities, including a requirement to notify purchasers about safety-related defects and to provide a remedy free of charge. 49 U.S.C. Sections 30118-30120.
In addition, you should be aware that other governmental entities may have authority over your product. It appears from the information you have submitted that you have already received a response from the U.S. Department of Transportations Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which has jurisdiction over commercial vehicles and interstate motor carriers operating in the United States. 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 your trucks and trailers 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.