Bankhead Enterprises, Inc.
25 Kincannon Road, SW
Cartersville, GA 30120
Dear Mr. Lowell:
This responds to your letter of June 8, 1995, asking for an interpretation of Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108.
Specifically, your company manufactures "stinger steered automobile transport trailers" as defined by 23 CFR 658.5, paragraphs (k) Tractor or Truck Tractor, (m) Automobile Transporters, and (n) Single-steered combination. Your company currently mounts taillamps, turn signal lamps, and clearance lamps on the back of the truck tractor. It is your understanding of paragraphs S18.104.22.168 and S22.214.171.124 of Standard No. 108 that "these items do not seem to be necessary."
For purposes of Standard No. 108, types of motor vehicles are defined by 49 CFR 571.3(b), a regulation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rather than 23 CFR 658.5, a regulation of the Federal Highway Administration. Under 571.3(b), the towing portion of your combination vehicle is a "truck", rather than a "truck tractor." A "truck" is defined, in pertinent part, as a motor vehicle "designed primarily for the transportation of property." A "truck tractor" is a "truck designed primarily for drawing other motor vehicles and not so constructed as to carry a load other than a part of the weight of the vehicle and the load so drawn." The photographs you enclosed show that the towing portion of Bankhead's combination vehicle is designed to carry motor vehicles, and may do so without the attachment of the trailer, hence it is a "truck." It is constructed to carry a load other than a part of the trailer, hence it is not a "truck tractor."
Accordingly, Bankhead's towing vehicle may not avail itself of the truck tractor lighting options of paragraphs S126.96.36.199 and S188.8.131.52 of Standard No. 108.
Your understanding of these sections as they relate to truck tractors meeting the definition of 571.3(b) is generally accurate. However, no provision of Standard No. 108 permits either the elimination or the relocation of taillamps from truck tractors.
Because Bankhead's product is operated in interstate commerce, it must also conform to the safety regulations of the Federal Highway Administration (49 CFR part 393). This is to advise you that the Office of Motor Carrier Standards has reviewed this letter and concurs in it.
If you have any further questions, you may refer them to Taylor Vinson of this office (202) 366-2992.
John Womack Acting Chief Counsel