Miraldi & Barrett Co., L.P.A.
6061 South Broadway
Lorain, Ohio 44053
Dear Mr. Miraldi:
This responds to your letter concerning paragraph S4.4 of Standard No. 207, Seating Systems. I regret the delay in replying.
S4.4 provides that:
Seats not designated for occupancy while the vehicle is in motion shall be conspicuously labeled to that effect.
You ask whether that section requires the placement of a label on a rear bench seat in a conversion van which folds out into a bed. NHTSA has interpreted the requirement to apply only to positions that are not designated seating positions under 49 CFR 571.3. Presuming that the bench seat is a "designated seating position" under 49 CFR 571.3, a label is not required for the seat. I have enclosed a January 4, 1996, letter to Erika Z. Jones on this subject. We note that the bench seat in its unconverted mode must comply with all requirements for a "designated seating position," and would have to be equipped with seat belts.
The label is not required for the position in the "bed" mode because S4.4 applies to "seats." An "occupant seat" is defined in S3 of Standard 207 as "a seat that provides at least one designated seating position." (Emphasis added.) Given the clear reference to "seat" in S4.4, we cannot interpret the labeling requirement to apply to a bed.
In answer to your general inquiry about our interpretations, this office regularly responds to requests for interpretations of the safety standards. All of our interpretations are on file in the agency's public docket and are available for public inspection. The telephone number for our Docket Room is (202) 366-4949. In addition, interpretations that have been issued from 1988 to the present are now available on the Internet. I have enclosed information on how you can search these letters.
Please contact Deirdre Fujita of my staff at (202) 366-2992 if you have any questions.
Samuel J. Dubbin