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Dietmar K. Leicht

Secretary General

Federation of European Manufacturers

of Friction Materials

Robert-Perthel-Str. 49

D-50739 Kln


Dear Mr. Leicht:

This responds to your letter in which you ask whether AMECA Standard VESC V-3 is still a legal requirement and mandatory in [the U.S.]. You stated that your members would like to know which legal requirements must be fulfilled for the export of brake linings to the United States. You cited brake linings for the aftermarket which are approved in Europe by ECE Regulation No. 90 and OE brake linings offered on the market as original replacement parts which are approved in Europe by ECE Regulation No. 13 (13H).

By way of background, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is authorized under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 to issue Federal motor vehicle safety standards applicable to new motor vehicles and items of motor vehicle equipment.  NHTSA does not approve motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment, nor do we endorse any commercial products.  Instead, our statute establishes a self-certification process under which each manufacturer is responsible for certifying that its products meet all applicable safety standards.  The agency periodically tests vehicles and equipment items for compliance with the standards, and also investigates reports of safety-related defects.

There is currently no Federal motor vehicle safety standard for new or replacement linings used on motor vehicles sold in the United States. However, new vehicles are required to be certified to brake safety standards which specify minimum performance requirements under a variety of different test conditions. While the brake linings used on a vehicle could affect the vehicles ability to meet some of the minimum performance requirements, the requirements do not establish any separate performance requirements for the brake linings.

The Federal requirements operate separately from the State law requirements. States are free to impose their own requirements on motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, unless such requirements are preempted by Federal law. We are unable to provide information about possible State requirements for brake linings.

Standard V-3 was promulgated by the Vehicle Equipment Safety Commission (VESC), and specified minimum requirements and uniform test procedures for motor vehicle brake linings. VESC ceased operations in January 1984.

With regard to Federal law, the VESC V-3 standard is not and never was a legal requirement. However, we cannot provide information as to whether some or all of the requirements of this standard may have been adopted as State laws.

In your letter, you referenced AMECA. We note that, according to its website, the Automotive Manufacturers Equipment Compliance Agency, Inc. (AMECA) was incorporated in late 1994 to continue providing the same safety equipment services to the states that the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators had provided since 1967.

Finally, brake linings are items of "motor vehicle equipment" and are subject to the notification and remedy (recall) provisions of 49 U.S.C. 30118-30120. If a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that the product contains a safety-related defect, the manufacturer is responsible for notifying purchasers of the defective vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment and remedying the problem free of charge. (This "recall" responsibility is borne by the vehicle manufacturer in cases in which the equipment is installed on a new vehicle by or with the express authorization of that vehicle manufacturer.)

I am enclosing an information sheet we prepared for new manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment that provides additional information about relevant Federal states and NHTSA standards and regulations affecting motor vehicle and motor vehicle manufacturers.

We hope this information has been helpful. If you have any further questions, you may call Ari Scott of my staff at (202) 366-2992.

Sincerely yours,

Anthony M. Cooke

Chief Counsel