Mr. John N. Quinata
Customs and Quarantine Agency
Government of Guam
Suite 225, 2nd Floor, GITC Bldg.
Tamuning, Guam 96911

Dear Mr. Quinata:

This responds to your letter asking whether used Nissan Truck Crane Lorries from Japan are subject to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). I apologize for the delay in our response, but we had difficulty contacting Nissan for some information we needed to answer your question. From your letter, I assume that Sanko Bussan Guam has imported this vehicle for use in the dock area, and that your agency is holding the vehicle pending this interpretation because the vehicle is not certified as complying with the FMVSS.

The short answer to your question is that the truck crane is a motor vehicle, subject to the FMVSS. I will outline the applicable law and point out some of our regulations that you should consider.

The issue you raise is whether the truck crane is a "motor vehicle," since the regulations you ask about apply only to motor vehicles. Title 49 of the U.S. Code, section 30102(a)(6), defines a motor vehicle as "a vehicle driven or drawn by mechanical power and manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways . . . ." Work-related vehicles generally are "motor vehicles" for purposes of our statute if they frequently use the highway going to and from job sites and stay at a job site for only a limited time.

We believe the truck crane is a motor vehicle. Nissan Diesel North America informs us that this truck crane is a general purpose medium-duty crane that can be used for short-duty jobs and driven from site to site on the public roads. The photographs you enclosed show the crane mounted on what appears to be a conventional truck chassis. The vehicle appears to be manufactured for use on the highways, and is thus a motor vehicle. The vehicle is a "truck" under our regulations, and must meet the FMVSSs for trucks that were in effect on the vehicle's date of manufacture.

As you know, NHTSA has regulations related to the importation of vehicles. They appear in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), at parts 591 to 593. In particular, note the declarations in 49 CFR 591.5 that are required for importation. Since your letter says that you enforce the FMVSSs in 49 CFR Part 571, I assume you have a copy of Parts 591-593. If you do not, we can send one to you.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions about NHTSA's safety standards, please contact Paul Atelsek of my staff at this address or by telephone at (202) 366-2992.


John Womack Acting Chief Counsel

NCC-20:PAtelsek:62992:OCC 10868:5/22/95:revised 7/3/95 ref:VSA d:7/25/95