Safety Affairs and Safety & Restraints Center
General Motors Corporation
30200 Mound Road
Warren, Michigan 48090-9010
Dear Mr. Bennett:
This responds to General Motors' (GM's) May 19, 1995 letter asking whether a sunshade device is permitted under the 70 percent light transmissibility requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 205, Glazing Materials. You describe the device as a screen-like device that is stowed in the back panel shelf area below the rear window and that can be electrically raised and lowered by a driver operated switch. The light transmissibility through the combination of the rear window and the raised sunshade is less than 70 percent. The short answer to your question is that the device is permitted.
Although you note earlier agency interpretations stating that windows with sunshades must still comply with Standard No. 205, you believe that the standard does not apply to your device. You state that those interpretations were distinguishable because the other shading devices were attached to the window, while your device is not.
You are correct in your assertion that installation of your sunshade would not cause a noncompliance with Standard No. 205. The purpose of the 70 percent light transmissibility requirements in Standard No. 205 is to ensure that the driver can see 70 percent of the incident light through the windows that are requisite for driving visibility, under all conditions of lighting. However, the test procedures do not incorporate an in-vehicle test. Instead, they contemplate testing only the glazing itself. Your mesh screen sunshade need not comply with the standard (because it does not meet the definition of glazing) or in combination with the rear window (because it is not attached).
Although our standards do not prohibit this device, we have some safety-related concerns with its use in inappropriate situations. NHTSA hopes that GM plans to take steps to minimize the likelihood that the sunshade will be raised in such situations.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Paul Atelsek of my staff at this address or by telephone at (202) 366-2992.
John Womack Acting Chief Counsel