Mr. Yoshiaki Matsui
Manager, Legal & Homologation Section
Stanley Electric Co. Ltd.
2-9 13, Nakameguro, Meguro-ku
Tokyo 153, Japan

Dear Mr. Matsui:

We have received your letter of November 16, 1994, to Patrick Boyd of this agency, asking for an interpretation of the final rule that amended Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108 on November 2, 1994.

The rule amended S5.1.2(c) to specify, in pertinent part, that "after the outdoor exposure test, plastic materials used for reflex reflectors . . . shall not show . . . haze that exceeds 7 percent . . . ." The amendment is effective November 1, 1995. You have presented two fact situations with respect to replacement reflex reflectors, and ask whether the amended haze requirement is applicable in each case. These are:

"First case - replacement reflex reflectors manufactured after the effective date, but the vehicle to which the reflex reflectors are fitted is no longer manufactured after the effective date."

Motor vehicle replacement equipment is governed by S5.8 of Standard No. 108. S5.8.1 requires that any reflective device manufactured to replace any reflective device on any vehicle to which Standard No. 108 applies shall be designed to conform to Standard No. 108. Paragraphs S5.8.2 through S5.8.9 permit certain specified items of replacement equipment to be manufactured to original equipment specifications (e.g., earlier versions of SAE standards no longer specified for original equipment on motor vehicles); however, reflex reflectors are not included among them. This means that any reflex reflectors manufactured on and after November 1, 1995, whether original or replacement, must conform with the 7 percent haze limitation, regardless of the date of manufacture of the vehicle.

"Second case - Replacement reflex reflectors manufactured before the effective date, which may be

fitted to a vehicle manufactured before or after the effective date. (In this case, the same type of vehicles are manufactured before and after the effective date continuously.)"

A replacement reflex reflector manufactured before November 1, 1995, to replace a reflex reflector on a vehicle manufactured either before or after November 1, 1995, is subject to the requirement that the plastic materials used in them shall show no haze in a visual inspection after the outdoor exposure test because that is the requirement in effect at the time the replacement reflex reflector is manufactured.

As a practical matter, it would appear to make no difference when the reflector was manufactured or to which specification. The amendment is not intended to change manufacturing techniques or composition of plastics materials in any way. Because it is impossible not to have some degree of haze at the end of the three-year test period, Standard No. 108 was amended to make it more objective and practicable, and the measured haze limit raised to 7 percent, at which point haze is visible to the naked eye.


Philip R. Recht Chief Counsel

ref:108 d:12/7/94