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08-003469drn-rev

David M. Mihalick, Standards Compliance Manager

Thor Industries, Inc.

419 West Pike Street,

P.O. Box 629

Jackson Center, OH 45334-0629

Dear Mr. Mihalick:

This responds to your letter in which you asked about certain labeling requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) Nos. 110, Tire selection and rims and motor home/recreation vehicle trailer load carrying capacity information for motor vehicles with a GVWR of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less, and 120, Tire selection and rims and motor home/recreation vehicle trailer load carrying capacity information for motor vehicles with a GVWR of more than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds), with respect to motor homes. You wrote your letter in light of amendments made to the standards in a final rule published in December 2007.[1] You asked whether the number of safety belt-equipped seating positions and their resulting occupant weight can be greater than the stated occupant and cargo carrying capacity (OCCC). For reasons discussed below, the answer to this question is no.

By way of background, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is authorized to issue and enforce Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSSs) for new motor vehicles and new items of motor vehicle equipment. See 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301. FMVSS Nos. 110 and 120 are two of the standards we have issued. Manufacturers are required to certify that their vehicles and equipment meet applicable standards. NHTSA does not approve motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment, nor do we endorse any commercial products.

FMVSS Nos. 110 and 120 require motor homes to have OCCC labels that, among other things, include the following information:

THE COMBINED WEIGHT OF OCCUPANTS AND CARGO SHOULD

NEVER EXCEED XXX KG OR XXX LBS

and

Safety belt equipped seating capacity: XXX.

Under NHTSA's certification regulation, Part 567, manufacturers must assign a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) to a new vehicle. The term GVWR is defined in 49 CFR Part 571.3 as "the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle." The GVWR informs vehicle owners how heavily the vehicle may safely be loaded. It also affects the vehicle's loading and other test conditions for the safety standards to which the vehicle must be certified, and at which NHTSA conducts any relevant compliance testing.

Under Part 567, vehicle manufacturers cannot specify a GVWR that is less than the sum of (1) the unloaded vehicle weight (including maximum capacity of all fluids necessary for operation of the vehicle),[2] (2) the rated cargo and luggage load, and (3) 150 pounds times the number of the vehicles designated seating positions.[3] See 567.4(g)(3), 567.5(b)(2)(iii) and 567.5(d)(2)(iii). The combined weight for occupants (calculated by multiplying 150 pounds times the number of the vehicles designated seating positions) and cargo cannot, therefore, be more than the GVWR of the vehicle minus the unloaded vehicle weight.

You specifically asked whether the number of safety belt-equipped seating positions and their resulting occupant weight can be greater than the stated occupant and cargo carrying capacity (OCCC). We assume that each safety belt-equipped seating position would be consistent with the definition of designated seating position set forth at 49 CFR 571.3. Thus, the requirements of Part 567 would prohibit any design where the sum of the vehicles unloaded vehicle weight plus 150 pounds times the number of safety-belt equipped seating positions exceeded the GVWR, irrespective of the rated cargo and luggage load.

The requirements of FMVSS Nos. 110 and 120 serve to reinforce these requirements of Part 567.

Standard No. 110 - In the December 2007 final rule, a new S9 was added to FMVSS No. 110. For motor homes and recreation vehicle (RV) trailers, the single stage or final stage manufacturer must affix either a motor home occupant and cargo carrying capacity (OCCC) label (Figure 3) or a RV trailer cargo carrying capacity (CCC) label (Figure 4) to its vehicles that meets specified requirements, including the following:

S9.3.2 The weight value for load carrying capacity on the RV load carrying capacity labels (Figures 3 and 4) must be displayed to the nearest kilogram with conversion to the nearest pound and must be such that the vehicle does not exceed its GVWR when loaded with the stated load carrying capacity. The UVW and the GVWR used to determine the RVs load carrying capacity must reflect the weights and design of the motor home or RV trailer as configured for delivery to the dealer/service facility.

Moreover, S9.3.6 states:

For RVs, the vehicle capacity weight values and the seating capacity values (motor homes only) on the placard required by S4.3 or S4.3.5 must agree with the load carrying capacity weight values and the safety belt equipped seating capacity (motor homes only) on the RV load carrying capacity labels. (Figures 3 and 4).

To clarify, FMVSS No. 110, paragraph S.4.3, requires that vehicles including motor homes be labeled with a value for the vehicle capacity weight on the vehicle placard. The vehicle capacity weight is defined as, the rated cargo and luggage load plus 68 kilograms (150 pounds) times the vehicle designated seating capacity.

The requirement that these various values must agree with each other means that for motor homes with GVWR of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less, the number of designated seating positions (at 150 pounds per position, as specified in 49 CFR Part 567) must equal the number of safety belt-equipped seating positions. The occupant weight subtotal added to the cargo carrying capacity must equal the load carrying capacity weight on the OCCC label. In addition, the load carrying capacity weight values must be the same on both labels required by FMVSS No. 110. Finally, as provided in S9.3.2, the vehicle must not exceed its GVWR when loaded with the stated load carrying capacity weight.

Standard No. 120 In the December 2007 final rule, a new S10. was added to FMVSS No. 120. For motor homes and recreation vehicles, the single stage or final stage manufacturer must affix either a motor home occupant and cargo carrying capacity (OCCC) label (Figure 1) or a RV trailer cargo carrying capacity (CCC) label (Figure 2) to its vehicles that meets specified requirements, including the following:

S10.4.2 The weight value for load carrying capacity on the RV load carrying capacity labels (Figures 1 and 2) must be displayed to the nearest kilogram with conversion to the nearest pound and must be such that the vehicles weight does not exceed its GVWR when loaded with the stated load carrying capacity. The UVW and the GVWR used to determine the RVs load carrying capacity must reflect the weights and design of the motor home or RV trailer as configured for delivery to the dealer/service facility.

Standard No. 120 does not include a provision comparable to S9.3.6 of Standard No. 110, since it does not include a separate placard requirement for information about vehicle capacity weight values and seating capacity values. However, given the fact that Standard Nos. 110 and 120 use the same terminology for the OCCC labels, as well as the relationship between the OCCC label requirements and those of Part 567, we interpret these terms to have the same meaning. Thus, the load carrying capacity weight on the Standard No. 120 OCCC label must reflect the sum of the rated cargo and luggage load plus 68 kilograms (150 pounds) times the number of designated seating positions. As noted earlier, we assume that each safety belt-equipped seating position would be consistent with the definition of designated seating position set forth at 49 CFR 571.3. Finally, as provided in S10.4.2, the vehicle must not exceed its GVWR when loaded with the stated load carrying capacity weight.

We note that, in your letter, you stated that Giving a vehicle owner the flexibility to choose between the amount of cargo and number of people they transport is a definite advantage to that customer. FMVSS No 110 and 120 permit this type of flexibility. The OCCC labels provide owners with a load carrying capacity value that they may use for various combinations of number of occupants and cargo. However, vehicles may not have a GVWR that is less than the sum of (1) the unloaded vehicle weight (including maximum capacity of all fluids necessary for operation of the vehicle), (2) the rated cargo and luggage load, and (3) 150 pounds times the number of the vehicles designated seating positions.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Dorothy Nakama of my staff at this address or by telephone at (202) 366-2992.

Sincerely yours,

Stephen P. Wood

Acting Chief Counsel

ref:110#120#567

d.7/24/09



[1] 72 FR 68442, December 4, 2007.

[2] "Unloaded vehicle weight" is defined in 49 CFR 571.3 as "the weight of a vehicle with maximum capacity of all fluids necessary for operation of the vehicle, but without cargo, occupants, or accessories that are ordinarily removed from the vehicle when they are not in use."

[3] A different requirement applies to school buses.