Arthur J. Killian, Jr.
Hit Concepts Group
P.O. Box 998
Sandusky, Ohio 44870
Dear Mr. Killian:
This responds to your letter requesting an exemption for your invention, a laminated area embedded into the front driver side and passenger side windows to reduce headlight glare from the outside rearview mirrors.
By way of background, NHTSA is authorized by the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (49 U.S.C. Chapter 301, Safety Act) to issue Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSSs) that set performance requirements for new motor vehicles and new items of motor vehicle equipment. 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.
You describe your invention as a laminated area embedded into the front windows on both the driver and passenger sides. You state that the purpose of this invention is to reduce headlight glare from the outside rearview mirrors and that the driver will view the outside rearview mirrors through the laminated area. Based on your description, we assume that glazing embedded with your product might be installed on a new motor vehicle or installed as an aftermarket item.
The following is a description of the relevant portions of the Safety Act and the FMVSSs that might apply to your invention, as well as exemption procedures.
NHTSA has issued FMVSS No. 205, Glazing Materials, which establishes performance and location requirements for glazing materials for use in motor vehicles, including glazing intended for aftermarket replacement. FMVSS No. 205 incorporates an industry standard, the American National Standards Institute American National Standard for Safety Glazing Materials for Glazing Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment Operating on Land Highways-Safety Standard (ANSI/SAE Z26.11996). FMVSS No. 205 and ANSI/SAE Z26.11996 include, among other things, specifications for minimum levels of light transmittance and require 70 percent light transmittance in areas of glazing that are requisite for driving visibility. Such areas of glazing include all windows in passenger vehicles.
Your invention would be embedded in glazing used in the front side windows on both the driver and passenger sides. Glazing embedded with the laminated area and intended to be installed in those locations must meet the 70 percent light transmittance requirement of FMVSS No. 205 and ANSI Z26.11996, as well as various other requirements. It appears from your description that the glazing would not meet the 70 percent light transmittance requirement. Specifically, you state, 65-35 to 70-30 light transmittance has gotten rave reviews by consumers who have viewed my after market part. We assume that this means that glazing embedded with your invention would have less than 70 percent light transmittance.
Section 30112 of the Safety Act provides that no person shall manufacture for sale, sell, offer for sale, introduce or deliver for introduction in interstate commerce, or import into the United States any item of new motor vehicle equipment unless the equipment complies with all applicable safety standards and is so certified by its manufacturer. It would be a violation of this section of Federal law for any person to manufacture or sell any glazing material for use in motor vehicles unless the products comply with the applicable requirements of FMVSS No. 205. Further, it would be a violation of Federal law for any person to manufacture or sell a motor vehicle whose glazing does not comply with the performance and location requirements of FMVSS No. 205.
The Safety Act permits vehicle manufacturers to petition for a temporary exemption from an FMVSS in specific limited situations. The procedures for applying for such an exemption can be found at 49 CFR Part 555. Accordingly, if eligible, an automobile manufacturer interested in equipping new motor vehicles with glazing embedded with the laminated area could apply for an exemption under this Part. However, this exemption is not available to equipment manufacturers.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have further questions, please contact William Shakely of my staff at (202) 366-2992.
O. Kevin Vincent
Ref: Standard No. 205