FMCSA sheds some light

In response to a petition file by the Truck Manufacturers Assn. (TMA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has clarified an August 2005 Final Rule concerning lamps and reflective devices on commercial vehicles.

In response to a petition file by the Truck Manufacturers Assn. (TMA), the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has clarified an August 2005 Final Rule concerning lamps and reflective devices on commercial vehicles.

The amended Final Rule, published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2007, ensures that OEMs can install auxiliary lamps provided they are placed at a distance that is at least twice the distance that separates each lamp in the required three-lamp cluster.

The original rule prohibited the use of all auxiliary lamps placed in “a horizontal line with the required identification lamps.”

In its petition to the agency, TMA noted that this contradicted a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rule on lamps and reflective devices (FMVSS NO. 108) prohibiting the installation of auxiliary lamps only if they “would impair the effectiveness of the required lighting.” In a July 2005 letter to TMA , NHTSA interpreted this further as “a distance that is at least twice the distance that separates each lamp in the required three-lamp cluster.”

In essence, FMCSA agreed with NHTSA’s spacing guidelines and thus issued an amended Final Rule. (49 CFR Part 393 Docket No. FMCSA-1997-2364; “Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation; Lamps and Reflective Devices.”)

FMCSA emphasized the importance of maintaining consistency between its regulations and those of NHTSA, stating that “trucks and trailers…configured with auxiliary lamps meeting the conditions outlined in NHTSA’s July 2005 interpretation letter are considered…fully compliant with the Federal safety regulations.”

The new rule goes into effect July 11, 2007.

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