P.O. Box 1441
Minneapolis, MN 55440
Dear Mr. Schroeder:
This responds to your inquiry about the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) with which your trailer must comply. You state that your company plans to manufacture a trailer mounted striper that applies reflective paint stripes to roadways. In a telephone conversation with Mr. Marvin Shaw of my staff, you stated that your trailer will spend a significant amount of time traveling on public roads between job sites. Please note that we are returning the photographs attached to your letter that were marked Aconfidential.@
As way of background information, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) interprets and enforces the laws under which the FMVSSs are promulgated. The statute defines the term Amotor vehicle@ as follows:
AAny vehicle driven or drawn by mechanical power manufactured primarily for use on the public streets, roads, and highways, except any vehicle operated exclusively on a rail or rails.@
Whether the agency considers your trailer to be a motor vehicle depends on its use. Based on the available information, it appears that your trailer is a Amotor vehicle@ within the meaning of the statutory definition. This conclusion is based on statements in your letter and telephone conversation that the trailer spends extended periods of time on the public roads moving between job sites. Thus, the agency would consider the use of your device on the public roads to be its primary purpose.
The following Federal safety standards apply to trailers: Standard No. 108 Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment, which address conspicuity, Standard No. 115, Vehicle Identification Numbers, and Standard No. 119, New Pneumatic Tires for Vehicles Other Than Passenger Cars. The content requirements for the vehicle identification number are found at 49 CFR Part 565. In addition, while your vehicle is not required to be equipped with brakes, if it is equipped with hydraulic brakes, then you need to use brake hoses and brake fluids that comply with Standard No. 106, Brake Hoses and Standard No. 116, Motor Vehicle Brake Fluids.
In addition as a manufacturer of motor vehicles, you would be required to submit identification information to this agency in accordance with 49 CFR Part 566, Manufacturer Identification. You would also be required to certify that each trailer complies with all applicable Federal safety standards. This certification procedure is set out in 49 CFR Part 567.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions about NHTSA=s safety standards, please feel free to contact Marvin Shaw of my staff at this address or by telephone at (202) 366-2992.
Samuel J. Dubbin Chief Counsel