FABA Autoglas Produktion
c/o Farmont Sunroofs, Ltd.
2346 Success Drive
P.O. Box 981
Odessa, FL 33556-0981
Dear Mr. Winzkowski:
This responds to your letter about a manufacturer's certification responsibilities under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 205, Glazing materials (49 CFR '571.205; copy enclosed). You state that you are a United States-based subsidiary of a German automotive sunroof manufacturer. You are having problems explaining to the German authorities the differences between the certification requirements of the two countries and request a letter explaining that the U.S. uses a self-certification procedure.
I am pleased to provide this information. As you know, every item of glazing for use in motor vehicles that is sold in or imported into this country must be certified as complying with FMVSS No. 205. This standard sets forth both performance and labeling requirements that must be satisfied by the automotive glazing. In enforcing its safety standards, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, does not follow the European practice of requiring the manufacturer of motor vehicle equipment to deliver an item of the equipment to specified institutes for testing before the product can be sold. Instead, as required by the U.S. Congress, the manufacturer "self-certifies" that each of its items of motor vehicle equipment fully satisfies all requirements of the applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Thus, each item of automotive glazing is self-certified by its manufacturer as complying with FMVSS No. 205. NHTSA does not require that the manufacturer's certification be based on a specified number of tests of the glazing or on any tests at all. Under the statute, the agency only requires that the certification be made with the exercise of "due care" on the part of the manufacturer. It is up to the manufacturer to determine what data, test results, or other information is needed to enable it to certify that the glazing complies with Standard No. 205. We do recommend, however, that a manufacturer selling its glazing
in the United States for the first time test those products, according to the test procedures specified in Standard No. 205. Once the manufacturer has determined that its glazing complies with the requirements of Standard No. 205, it certifies that compliance by marking the glazing with the symbol DOT, as specified in section S6 of Standard No. 205.
You specifically asked for verification that "no US DOT testing or certification is conducted when DOT numbers are assigned to manufacturers." The "DOT number" to which you refer is the manufacturer's code mark that is assigned by NHTSA on request of the glazing manufacturer (S6.2 of FMVSS No. 205). Your understanding is correct. NHTSA does not test glazing products or review manufacturers' compliance data prior to or as a condition for assigning a manufacturer's code mark pursuant to S6.2 of Standard No. 205.
I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any other questions, please contact Mr. Marvin Shaw of my staff at (202) 366-2992.
John Womack Acting Chief Counsel