Graphiclite Systems Inc.
P.O. Box 437
Tallmadge, Ohio 44278
Dear Mr. Fuller:
This is in reply to your letter of October 24, 1996, asking several questions about the relationship of your product, the Graphiclite, to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108.
You have told us that the Graphiclite, a 20 watt halogen light, "is being designed to be mounted on the sides, near the bottom, of trailers and trucks to illuminate the advertising graphics which are becoming more and more popular." You also enclosed a copy of an interpretative letter of this Office, dated August 19, 1988, on an earlier version of the product.
There are no affirmative requirements of Standard No. 108 with which additional and optional motor vehicle lighting equipment must comply. This equipment, if offered as original equipment, is subject only to the prohibition of paragraph S5.1.3 that it must not impair the effectiveness of the lighting equipment that the standard requires to be installed. This means that the answer to your questions 1,2,4, and 5 is no. Your question 3 is whether a demonstration of Graphiclite will be required in accordance with S5.1.3. The answer again is no. It is the responsibility of the truck or trailer manufacturer in certifying that its vehicles comply with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards to make the impairment determination. Unless that determination is clearly erroneous, the agency will not question it. In directing the light from the lamp toward the vehicle side, we would caution against placement of the lamp so that the beam falls upon any intermediate side marker lamp and reflector (required on vehicles whose overall length is 30 feet or greater).
The fact that original auxiliary lighting equipment may be acceptable under S5.1.3 does not preempt a state from prohibiting it under its own lighting regulations. We are unable to advise you on state laws, and suggest that you contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in those states where you anticipate marketing Graphiclite.
If you have any further questions, please telephone Taylor Vinson (202-366-5263).
Acting Chief Counsel