Frank K. Saito, President
K&S Technologies, Inc.
Centre West Plaza, Suite 150
9710 Scranton Road,
San Diego, CA 92121
Dear Mr. Saito:
This responds to your question about how NHTSAs standards would apply to a motorcycle replacement turn signal lamp that would rely on wireless signals for actuation. Our response is provided below.
In a telephone conversation with Dorothy Nakama of my staff, you explained that the replacement turn signal lamp at issue would rely not on the use of physical wires between the actuation switch and the lamp for actuation, but on the use of radio frequencies or other wireless means. You further explained that the lamp is not depicted on your companys website: www.kandstech.com because this lamp is still under development.
By way of background, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is authorized to issue and enforce Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSSs) applicable to new motor vehicles and new items of motor vehicle equipment. NHTSA, however, does not approve or endorse motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment. Instead, our statute establishes a self-certification process under which each manufacturer is responsible for certifying that its products meet all applicable safety standards.
As you are aware, requirements for replacement turn signal lamps are specified at Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108, Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment. In developing the replacement lamp, your company must ensure that it can certify that the lamp meets all applicable FMVSS No. 108 requirements for replacement turn signal lamps.
For your information, I am enclosing a copy of an October 8, 2004 (69 FR 60464) Federal Register notice in which we provide an interpretation of how FMVSS No. 108 applies to replacement equipment. As a general matter, replacement lamps must not take a vehicle out of compliance with FMVSS No. 108. In this regard, we note that the design of replacement turn signal lamps could potentially affect the compliance of a vehicle with the turn signal failure indication requirements specified in paragraph S5.5.6 and hazard warning signal operating unit requirements in paragraph S5.5.5. We also note that one of the subjects discussed in the notice is possible compatibility issues between a vehicles electrical system and replacement lamps that impose larger or smaller electrical loads than the original equipment light sources.
We note that since your proposed lamp would function by using radio signals or other wireless transmissions, laws enforced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may also apply. The FCCs Office of the General Counsels address is: Office of the General Counsel, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554.
Finally, I note that on your stationerys letterhead and at your companys website, the term D.O.T. approved lights is used. Please do not continue to use this term, as it is misleading. As earlier explained, NHTSA does not approve motor vehicles, or motor vehicle equipment, including replacement turn signal lamps.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Dorothy Nakama of my staff by mail or by telephone at (202) 366-2992.
O. Kevin Vincent
cc: Office of the General Counsel
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
 Please note that on December 4, 2007, NHTSA published a final rule that administratively rewrote FMVSS No. 108 (72 FR 68234). This final rule was intended to present the existing regulatory requirements in a simpler, more straightforward manner, and to reduce the need to consult outside documentation. No new substantive requirements were imposed on manufacturers. The final rule takes effect on December 1, 2009.