FROM: AUTHOR UNAVAILABLE; Frank Berndt; NHTSA
TO: National Glass Dealers Association
TITLE: FMVSS INTERPRETATION
TEXT: This is in response to your letters regarding Safety Standard No. 205, Glazing Materials. Please accept our apology for the lateness of our reply. You ask whether an installer of automotive safety glazing violates any of the regulations promulgated by the American National Standard Institute, Inc. (ANSI) or of this agency if the installer repairs damaged automotive glazing as part of his or her business.
The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, as amended in 1974 (the Act), authorizes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to establish Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. Safety Standard No. 205 establishes performance requirements for automotive glazing. The standard incorporates by reference the American National Standard "Safety Code for Safety Glazing Materials for Glazing Motor Vehicles Operating on Land Highways," Z26.1-1966. Glazing repair businesses, sellers of vehicles or automotive glazing, and manufacturers of glazing repair kits all have different responsibilities and liabilities regarding automotive glazing and Safety Standard No. 205 under the Act.
Section 108(a)(2)(A) of the Act prohibits any manufacturer, distributor, dealer, or motor vehicle repair business from knowingly rendering inoperative any device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment in compliance with an applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standard. (There is no prohibition against an individual modifying his or her own vehicle or equipment.) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not consider fixing a damaged windshield to constitute rendering inoperative with respect to Standard No. 205 even if the windshield does not meet the requirements of the standard once repaired. This is because the agency considers the object or even which damaged the windshield in the first place to have rendered the windshield inoperative with respect to Standard No. 205. However, if the repair shop, in the course of fixing a damaged windshield that is installed in a vehicle renders another part of the vehicle or element of design inoperative with respect to another applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standard, then the repair shop violates section 108(a)(2)(A). It does not matter whether the vehicle is new or used (i.e., has been sold for purposes other than resale). There is no violation if the repair business reasonably believes that the vehicle or item of equipment will not be used (other than for testing or similar purposes in the course of repair) during the time such device or element of design is rendered inoperative. Section 109 of the Act imposes a civil penalty up to $ 1,000 for each violation of section 108(a)(2)(A). It is not likely that the process you describe would involve a rendering inoperative, but you should be aware of this section.
Sellers of repaired automotive glazing or vehicles equipped with repaired automotive glazing may violate section 108(a)(1)(A) of the Act. Section 108(a)(1)(A) provides that: no person shall manufacture for sale, sell, offer for sale, or introduce or deliver for introduction in interstate commerce, or import into the United States, any motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment manufactured on or after the date any applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standard takes effect under this title unless it is in conformity with such standard. . .
(Note that section 108(b)(1) provides that section 108(a)(1)(A) does not apply once the motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment is purchased in good faith for purposes other than resale. In other words, section 108(a)(1)(A) applies only to new vehicles or equipment, not to used vehicles or equipment.) Thus, if someone sells a new, but damaged, replacement windshield that does not comply with the requirements of Standard No. 205 once repaired, he or she is in violation of section 108(a)(1)(A), since he or she is selling an item of motor vehicle equipment that does not comply with all applicable safety standards. An automobile dealer who sells a new car whose windshield does not comply with Standard No. 205 also violates section 108(a)(1)(A). Again, section 109 imposes a civil penalty up to $ 1,000 for each violation of section 108(a)(1)(A).
The responsibilities of manufacturers of glazing repair kits or systems under the Act are found in sections 151 et seq. of the Act. Such manufacturers of motor vehicle equipment must notify purchasers about safety-related defects and remedy such defects free of charge. Section 109 also imposes a civil penalty of up to $ 1,000 upon any person who fails to provide notification of or remedy for a defect in motor vehicle equipment. It is not likely, however, that glazing repair kits would contain safety related defects. This section generally would apply to mechanical motor vehicle components.
Compliance with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards will not automatically relieve a repair business or manufacturer of responsibility in a products liability suit. You will have to contact a private attorney for more information in this area, however.
We hope you find this information helpful. Please contact this office if you have further questions.
May 21, 1981
Raymond Peck Administrator National Highway Traffic Safety Administration U. S. Department of Transportation
Dear Mr. Peck:
I am writing on behalf of the 1,600 members of the National Glass Dealers Association, the nation's largest organization representing the automotive and architectural glass industry. For many years now, NGDA has addressed itself to the question of auto windshield glass repairs.
We have some new developments to tell you about, but first, a bit of background. It certainly comes as no surprise that minor breaks on laminated glass automobile windshields can be temporarily eliminated by displacing the air with as simple a substance as light oil. Used car salesmen have been known to attempt this for as long as there have been used car salesmen.
This repair concept made a great leap in technological sophistication when, several years ago, a company marketed a system for glass repair whereby a liquid plastic was deposited into minor windshield breaks by a vibrating type of machine. It was unsuccessful and eventually withdrawn from the market. Then came a "third generation" of repair that included elements common in both its predecessors. In 1975, this Association developed a report on all the known repair systems in existence then but, many of those firms have since disappeared.
The agonizing question still remains as to whether or not it is legal to repair damaged automobile windshields under various federal and state automobile safety laws and regulations.
Because glass dealers know the high standards set for windshields and because they know the integral part the windshield plays in the design and safety characteristics of an automobile, glass dealers have shied away from suggesting repair because it is not fully known how a repair affects the strength, integrity and vision of that original windshield and how that repaired glass might behave if called upon to support an auto's roof assembly in roll-over situation or worse.
Our association is also concerned at the fact that insurance people throughout the nation are waiving deductibles on comprehensive auto insurance and suggesting their insureds use repair instead of replacement. This could put that industry and ours in a most costly liable situation if an injury occured and the cause of the injury was alleged to be that the repaired glass did not maintain its strength, integrity and most important, we believe, undistorted vision.
One of our major concerns has been the advertising claims made by a major manufacturer of repair system. Their long-time claim has been that their product is, "Tested and meets the requirements of American National Standard Institute Safety Code (ANSI) Z26.1a-1969 (R-1973) for laminated glazing materials."
That is an invalid advertising claim that we feel has swayed the insurance industry into a false sense of security! In recent correspondence to ANSI, we pointed out that the independent testing laboratories' report on the repair system product noted the six different tests which were completed, but failed to note that the ANSI Code requires nine different tests -- leaving out three of the most important tests. Namely, an impact test, a deviation and distortion test and an abrasion resistance test. These three are surely vital if an effort is to be made to maintain the integrity of the windshield. We called on Mr. William H. Rockwell, Counsel for ANSI, and the Z26 Technical Committee of ANSI to make a determination as to whether or not these important advertising claims were, in fact, correct and applicable to the Z26 Code. We were quick to point out the authority and high regard an ANSI Code carries with it and we were certain ANSI would be interested in protecting its best interests.
We are pleased to report that both Mr. Rockwell and the Z26 Technical Committee have determined that the ANSI Code does not apply to repaired windshields -- only new windshields -- and ANSI moved quickly to request that the repair system cease reference to any ANSI Codes in its advertising as being an authority for use of its product. This is an important position taken by ANSI and we want to share this information with you. Glass dealers across the nation will be hearing that these advertising claims are invalid -- as determined by ANSI.
However, we now begin to see another advertising claim (as shown on the second page of the enclosed flyer) that a particular windshield repair system meets the ANSI codes". . . as observed by the United States Department of Transportation." Our agonizing question still remains! Can an installer of auto safety glass provide a glass repair service and not be held in violation of any ANSI or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Department of Transportation rules and/or regulations?
We are writing on behalf of our members who have a vital interest in expanding their market penetration, but only once assured that there would be no consequent liability for their actions. Therefore, we respectfully request information as to the extent of your departments observation of the NOVUS repair system, as indicated in the enclosed materials, which lead to your acceptance of such a system of glass repair.
If additional materials are needed, please feel free to contact our national headquarters office. We will appreciate your assistance in this matter and will look forward to your prompt reply.
Robert W. Stanley Executive Vice President
cc: GEORGE FLEET -- NGDA PRES.
american national standards institute, inc.
April 10, 1981
Gerald E. Keinath President NOVUS Inc.
Dear Mr. Keinath:
Enclosed you will find a copy of my November 17, 1980 letter to NOVUS and your reply of December 16, 1980. Since that time we have been checking this question out and find two things:
1) ANSI Z26.1 covers only new windshields, not repaired glass. (See SAE letter of March 11, 1980 attached.)
2) We received a laboratory report analyzing the Patzig report you sent me. This is what they had to say:
"We have reviewed this report. Only six selected tests from the nine tests required by the Code were carried out. The following tests were not run: Test No. 9 Impact, Dart, 30 Feet, Test No.15 - Deviation and Distortion, and Test No. 18 - Abrasion Resistance. Most significant of these omissions were the optical deviation and distortion tests and the abrasion test. The Patzig Report states that 30 specimens illustrating repaired breaks of various size and shapes were submitted."
In view of this we are writing to ask you to refrain from using any reference to our Z26.1 standard in your advertising for repaired glass.
William H. Rockwell Resident Counsel
cc: PATRICIA COUHIG - SAE; ROBERT W. STANLEY
Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc.
March 11, 1981
Robert W. Stanley National Glass Dealers Association
Dear Mr. Stanley:
The Technical Committee to ANSI Z26 has now had the opportunity to review in detail the matter of whether ANSI Z26.1-1977 addresses repaired windshields.
It is their opinion that the Code address new windshields, not repaired glass. This opinion is supported by the wording in the Code in paragraph 4.1, which states:
"Tests shall be applied to specimens only when in the condition as shipped by the manufacturer, except that any protective masking material shall be removed prior to making the tests."
We regret the delay in having this response made to you, however, we hope it does answer your inquiry.
Patricia Couhig for ANSI Z26 Technical Committee
cc: R. MORRISON; W. H. ROCKWELL
An exciting new business opportunity requiring a very modest investment. (Illegible Text)
Call and talk to a Novus Business Consultant who will explain the Novus METHODman(TM) II system and ongoing supports offered by the company, or write (include your phone number) to
International Headquarters NOVUS, Inc., 5301 Edina Industrial Blvd. Minneapolis, MN 55435 (612) 831-2434
REPAIR STONE DAMAGED WINDSHIELDS (Illegible Text) (Graphics omitted)