International & Regulatory Affairs
Valeo Lighting Systems
34, rue Saint-Andr
93 012 Bobigny Cedex
Dear Mr. Dorleans:
This responds to your letter, in which you ask about the activation of daytime running lamps (DRLs) under the administrative rewrite version of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment. Specifically, you ask whether various LED (light-emitting diode) lamp designs, incorporating a parking lamp function in addition to other functions, can be used as DRLs under the new version standard. Our answer is that the new version of FMVSS No. 108 does not affect that opinion we provided in our April 29, 2008 letter to you.
By way of background, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is authorized to issue FMVSSs that set performance requirements for new motor vehicles and items of motor vehicle equipment (see 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301). NHTSA does not provide approvals of motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment. Instead, manufacturers are required to self-certify that their products conform to all applicable safety standards that are in effect on the date of manufacture. NHTSA selects a sampling of new vehicles and equipment each year to determine their compliance with applicable FMVSSs. If our testing or examination reveals an apparent noncompliance, we may require the manufacturer to remedy the noncompliance, and may initiate an enforcement proceeding if necessary to ensure that the manufacturer takes appropriate action.
On December 4, 2007, NHTSA published an administrative rewrite of FMVSS No. 108 (72 FR 68234). This rewrite was intended to present the existing regulatory requirements in a simpler, more straightforward manner, and to reduce the need to consult outside documentation. As we stated in the summary of the notice:
This document amends the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108 on lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment by reorganizing the regulatory text so that it provides a more straightforward and logical
presentation of the applicable regulatory requirements, which includes the agencys interpretation of the existing requirements. This final rule does not impose any new substantive requirements on manufacturers.
In a letter of interpretation we mailed to you on April 29, 2008, we stated:
For the purpose of S5.5.11(a) [of the current version of FMVSS No. 108], the array of LEDs that you described in your letter, which can serve the function of parking lamps or other lamps depending on how they are activated, would not be considered parking lamps in either of the scenarios that you described. In DRL mode, the lamps would be substantially brighter than the parking lamps, and according to your letter, their photometric output would comply with the requirements of S5.5.11(a)(1), which sets minimum and maximum output for DRLs. This would result in effective DRLs, which is the intent of the requirement in FMVSS No. 108.
This relayed our opinion that your lighting system was permissible under FMVSS No. 108. This opinion is not changed by the fact that the standard has been reworded. For reference, as you stated in your letter, the rewritten language (now in paragraph S18.104.22.168) reads:
Daytime running lamps. A passenger car, multipurpose passenger vehicle, truck, or bus may be equipped with a pair of daytime running lamps (DRLs) as specified in Table I and S7.10 of this standard. DRLs may be any pair of lamps on the front of the vehicle, whether or not required by this standard, other than parking lamps or fog lamps.
Therefore, the opinion expressed in our previous letter, that the lighting system that you propose is permissible under the standard, will still hold true when the new language for FMVSS No. 108 comes into effect.
If you have any further questions, please contact Ari Scott of my staff at (202) 366-2992.
Anthony M. Cooke
NCC-112:Ascott:5/23/08:OCC 08-002063:62992 Final AScott:mar:11/25/08 Cc: NCC-110 Subj/Chron, Redbook, Docket Std. 108 S:\INTERP\108\08-002063as.doc