115 N.E. Seventh Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601
Dear Mr. Kann:
This responds to your letter of November 14, 1995, to Ricardo Martinez, M.D. Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You have asked whether "pole trailers such as those used in the logging industry, [are] required to have retro- reflective sheeting, reflex reflectors, or a combination?" If not, you asked whether NHTSA issued "any explanation for failing to extend the requirements to pole trailers."
As you noted, Section S3(a) of Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108 applies to "trailers (except pole trailers) . . . ." This means that pole trailers, as defined in 49 CFR 571.3(b) are exempted from all the requirements of Standard No. 108 including those of Section S5.7 which specifies conspicuity requirements for "each trailer of 80 or more inches overall width and with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds".
Pole trailers have always been excluded from Standard No. 108 (see 23 CFR 255.51, Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108, Section S2, effective January 1, 1968). Thus, the agency never proposed in the first instance that conspicuity requirements apply to pole trailers, and there was no discussion of pole trailers in the preambles to the proposal and final rule. Apparently, pole trailers were defined and excluded on the basis of comments to Standard No. 108 as originally proposed late in 1966 that a standardized lighting scheme might be impracticable for this category of vehicle.
If you have any questions, you may refer them to Taylor Vinson of this Office (202-366-5263).
Samuel J. Dubbin Chief Counsel