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    David Ring, Operations Manager
    Fluid Connector Products, Inc.
    3342 N.W. 26th Avenue
    Portland, OR97210

    Dear Mr. Ring:

    This responds to your request for an interpretation of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 106, Brake Hoses (49 CFR 571.106). In particular, you asked about the most current version of FMVSS No. 106 and FMVSS No. 106 requirements for assemblers of crimp style air brake assemblies for aftermarket customers.

    In responding to your letter, I note that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) does not provide approvals of motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment. Under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301, manufacturers are required to certify that their vehicles and equipment meet applicable requirements.

    FMVSS No. 106 applies to brake hoses, brake hose end fittings, and brake hose assemblies. The standard specifies labeling and performance requirements for these products to reduce the likelihood of brake system failure from ruptures in the brake hose or brake hose assembly. New brake hoses, end fittings, and assemblies must meet these requirements to be sold in or imported into this country. The various requirements for air brake hose, brake hose assemblies, and brake hose fittings are set forth in S7 of FMVSS No. 106.

    You ask if FMVSS No. 106 requires your two associate distributors, which are independent contractors, to "register their unique symbols" if they are purchasing materials from Fluid Connector Products to manufacture crimp-style air brake assemblies for their aftermarket customers. In a telephone conversation with Dorothy Nakama of my staff, you stated that the two associate distributors are not permitted to label the air brake assemblies with "FCP" and that Fluid Connector Products does not assume responsibility for assemblies manufactured by the associate distributors. With this background, the answer is yes, the two associate distributors must "register their unique symbols". FMVSS No. 106 at S7.2.3Assemblies states:

    Each air brake hose assembly made with end fittings that are attached by crimping or swaging, except those sold as part of a motor vehicle, shall be labeled by means of a band around the brake hose assembly as specified in this paragraph or, at the option of the manufacturer, by means of labeling as specified in S7.2.3.1. The band may at the manufacturers option be attached so as to move freely along the length of the assembly, as long as it is retained by the end fittings. The band shall be etched, embossed, or stamped in block capital letters, numerals or symbols at least one-eighth of an inch high, with the following information:

    1. The symbol DOT, constituting certification by the hose assembler that the hose assembly conforms to all applicable motor vehicle safety standards.
    2. A designation that identifies the manufacturer of the hose assembly, which shall be filed in writing with: Office of Crash Avoidance Standards, Vehicle Dynamics Division, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590. The designation may consist of block capital letters, numerals or a symbol.

    [The mailing address has changed to: Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, Equipment Division NVS-222, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 400 Seventh St. SW, Washington, DC20590. This new address is reflected in the December 20, 2004 brake hose final rule and is the preferred address.]

    S7.2.3.1 At least one end fitting of an air brake hose assembly made with end fittings that are attached by crimping or swaging shall be etched, stamped or embossed with a designation at least one-sixteenth of an inch high that identifies the manufacturer of the hose assembly and is filed in accordance with S7.2.3(b).

    Where a distributor of brake hose parts assembles them into an air brake hose assembly, the distributor would be the manufacturer of the assembly. I note that the term "manufacturer" is defined at 49 U.S.C. 30102(a)(5)(A) as a person "manufacturing or assembling motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment". The enclosed letter of May 13, 2002 to WIRA Fahrzeug-und Maschinenteile GmbH explains additional requirements for manufacturers of brake hoses.

    On December 20, 2004 (69 FR 76298), NHTSA issued in the Federal Register, a final rule updating FMVSS No. 106, including the requirements for air brake hose, brake hose assemblies, and brake hose end fittings. No changes were made to S7.2.3 or to S7.2.3.1. The final rule takes effect on December 20, 2006. However manufacturers that wish to do so may begin complying with this new rule beginning on February 18, 2005.

    I hope this information is helpful. In addition to the above, I am also, enclosing a information sheet for new manufacturers and a copy of the December 20, 2004 final rule updating FMVSS No. 106. If you have any questions, please contact Dorothy Nakama at (202) 366-2992.


    Jacqueline Glassman
    Chief Counsel