Messrs. Jim Cawse and Fred Diehl
Plastics Technology Division
General Electric Company
One Plastics Ave.
Pittsfield, MA 01201


We have received your letter of January 2, 1995, asking for a confirmation of the appropriateness of your proposed test procedures for plastic materials, as you wish to "continue to adhere to the SAE testing protocol as delineated in SAE J576C."

Paragraph S5.1.2 of Standard No. 108 requires, with certain exceptions, that plastic materials used for optical parts such as lenses and reflectors shall conform to SAE J576c. It has been the agency's position over the years that 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 (formerly the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act) does not establish a requirement that a manufacturer actually conduct compliance testing, but requires only that a vehicle or equipment item conform to any applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standard if tested in the manner set forth in the standard. We have advised that a manufacturer may exercise due care in certifying compliance of its product on bases other than the test procedures that are set forth in the Federal motor vehicle safety standards, whether the procedures are incorporated by reference, as with J576c, or directly expressed in the standards themselves, although NHTSA itself will conduct its tests according to the procedures set forth in the standards. For this reason, we have no comment on the merits of your suggested approach.

Because the agency has proposed amending Standard No. 108 to substitute SAE J576 JUL91 for J576c, we are filing your letter in Docket No. 94-37 as a comment to be considered in this rulemaking. Enclosed is a copy of the proposal with which you are probably already familiar. Although the comment period closed on January 3, it is the agency's practice to consider late-filed comments to the extent practicable.


Philip R. Recht Chief Counsel

Enclosure ref:108 d:2/6/95