Mr. R. Karbowski
Ford Motor Company
Fairlane Plaza South, Ste. 500
330 Town Center Drive
Dearborn, MI 48124

Dear Mr. Karbowski:

This responds to your May 3, 1996, facsimile asking whether New York=s proposed law requiring blind spot mirrors would be Aprohibited@ by our statute. Our answer is that the proposed State requirement would be preempted.

According to your letter, New York=s proposed law (9376--A, March 5, 1996) states, in relevant part:

[e]very motor vehicle sold after September first . . . shall be equipped with a blind spot mirror which is a convex mirror, circular in shape and 1.25 to 2.5 inches in diameter, that attaches directly on the standard side view mirror for cars, or of circular or rectangular shape, four inches to six inches in diameter or four inches by six inches, and is installed for trucks.

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 111, Rearview mirrors (49 CFR 571.111), prescribes performance requirements for side view mirrors on new cars and trucks. S5.2.1 of the standard specifies field of view requirements for the driver=s outside mirror on passenger cars and also specifies that the mirror shall be of Aunit magnification@ (i.e., flat). S5.3 provides the option of using a convex mirror in certain circumstances on the passenger side of a vehicle, and S5.4 specifies radius of curvature and other requirements for the convex mirror. S6, S7, and S8 specify requirements for truck rear view mirrors, including size. These sections require mirrors to be of unit magnification (with the exception of an option in S6 for mirrors complying with S5).

Section 30103(b) of 49 U.S.C. ''30101 et seq. (formerly '103(d) of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act) states:

when a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this chapter, a State . . . may prescribe or continue in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if the standard is identical to the standard prescribed under this chapter.

New York=s Ablind spot mirror@ requirement appears to be preempted by Federal law. New York would be regulating the same aspect of performance (rear/side field of view) regulated by Standard No. 111. The state requirement would not be identical to the requirements of Standard 111. You state that complying with New York=s law would take some vehicles out of compliance with Standard No. 111. To the extent that New York=s requirement is inconsistent, it would be preempted.

It should be noted that NHTSA was petitioned to require convex rear view mirrors on the side mirrors, but denied this request. I have enclosed a copy of the denial for your information. (53 FR 45128)

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.


Samuel J. Dubbin Chief Counsel


cc: Keith Cuddy Assembly Programming Counsel Rm. 513, The Capitol Albany, NY 12248

NCC-20:PAtelsek:6-2992:OCC# 11856:5/17/96 ref: FMVSS 111 cc: NCC-20 Subj/Chron, NCC-20 PJA, NPS-01, NSA-01 Interp.: 111, Redbook (2)