Herr Reg Auge
Dr. Weber & Co. GmbH
Dear Herr Auge:
This responds to your letter of January 17, 2002, asking for confirmation that Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 125, Warning devices (Standard No. 125) applies only to warning devices designed to be carried in buses and trucks over 4536 kg (10,000 pounds) gross vehicle weight rating. As explained below, you are correct in your understanding of the applicability of Standard No. 125.
At S3, Application, Standard No. 125 states:
This standard applies to devices, without self-contained energy sources, that are designed to be carried in buses and trucks that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds. These devices are used to warn approaching traffic of the presence of a stopped vehicle, except for devices designed to be permanently affixed to the vehicle.
The standard had at one point applied to all warning devices that do not have self-contained energy sources and that are designed to be carried in motor vehicles. S3 was amended in a final rule published in the Federal Register on September 29, 1994 (see 59 FR 49586, copy enclosed). In that final rule, we amended Standard No. 125 to apply only to those warning devices that do not have self-contained energy sources and that are designed to be carried in buses and trucks that have a GVWR greater than 10,000 pounds (or 4536 kg). The amendments made in the final rule took effect on October 31, 1994.
A warning device that meets Standard No. 125 must be permanently marked with "the symbol DOT, or the statement that the warning device complies with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards." (See S5.1.4(c).) If your warning devices do not meet Standard No. 125, they must not be marked with the DOT symbol or the statement about compliance with Federal motor vehicle safety standards.
Please note, however, that even if not covered by Standard No. 125, a warning designed to be carried in motor vehicles 4536 kg and under is an item of "motor vehicle equipment," and is subject to various provisions of 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301, "Motor Vehicle Safety." Manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment must ensure that their products are free of safety-related defects. If a manufacturer or NHTSA should determine that the product contains a safety-related defect, the manufacturer would be responsible for notifying purchasers of the defective vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment and remedying the problem free of charge. (This responsibility is borne by the vehicle manufacturer in cases in which your devices are installed on a new vehicle by or with the express authorization of that vehicle manufacturer.)
Some states may regulate warning devices that vehicles with a GVWR of 4536 kg or less may or must use when the vehicle is stopped. Each state in which you sell your product can provide information on whether there are any requirements in that state for warning devices to be used with vehicles with a GVWR of 4536 kg or less.
Finally, before your company can market motor vehicle equipment in the United States, 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 551 at Subpart D (copy enclosed) requires that you appoint a permanent resident of the United States as your agent for the service of legal process, notices, orders, decisions, or other applicable requirements. The agent can be an individual, a firm, or an American corporation.
I hope this information is helpful. If you need further assistance, please contact Dorothy Nakama of my staff at this address or at (202) 366-2992.
Acting Chief Counsel