Sierra Products, Inc.
1113 Greenville Road
Livermore, CA 94550
Dear Mr. Moore:
This is in reply to your letter of May 28, 1997, to Samuel J. Dubbin, the former Chief Counsel of this agency. You ask for a "reconsideration" of his interpretation letter to you of July 29, 1996.
That letter informed you that we saw no conflict between California Vehicle Code Sec. 25100(e) requiring clearance lamps to be visible from all distances between 500 feet and 50 feet to the front and rear of the vehicle, and paragraph S126.96.36.199.1 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108 providing that clearance lamps located other than on the front and rear need not be visible at 45 degrees inboard. In our opinion, S188.8.131.52.1 did not relieve clearance lamps of the requirement that they be visible and meet minimum photometric requirements "directly to the rear" and at 45 degrees outboard.
You disagree with this interpretation, commenting that "perhaps one could see at least one of the so-called Clearance lights 'to the rear' if one were in the left or right lane directly adjacent to the lane" in which the vehicle carrying the clearance lamps were traveling. We do not think that our interpretation was mistaken. It remains our belief that a clearance lamp located other than on the rear of a vehicle, such as on a fender, but which is visible directly to the rear, will be visible without reference to an adjacent lane, and will be visible from 50 to 500 feet directly to the rear of the vehicle as specified by CVC Sec. 25100(e). The issue of whether a particular manufacturer may have violated the standard by recessing its clearance lamps on the side of a vehicle so that they are not visible and do not meet applicable photometric requirements from the rear is a different issue, and does not call into question our prior interpretations.
We appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention.
Acting Chief Counsel