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Denials of Petitions for Rulemaking; Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government Topics:  Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

Denials of Petitions for Rulemaking; Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108

Barry Felrice
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
March 30, 1994

[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 61 (Wednesday, March 30, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 94-7406]

[[Page Unknown]]

[Federal Register: March 30, 1994]



National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571


Denials of Petitions for Rulemaking; Federal Motor Vehicle Safety 
Standard No. 108

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DOT.

ACTION: Denials of petitions for rulemaking.


SUMMARY: This notice denies petitions for rulemaking to amend Standard 
No. 108 to permit center high-mounted stop lamps installed on truck 
camper caps to flash with the hazard warning lamps for a limited period 
of time. The reason for the denial is that there is no need to allow 
special wiring provisions because trucks subject to the standard are 
being manufactured with circuitry that accommodates supplementary 
CHMSLs that operate in accordance with existing requirements.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrick Boyd, Office of Vehicle Safety 
Standards, NHTSA (202-366-6345).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On April 19, 1991, Federal Motor Vehicle 
Safety Standard No. 108, Lamps, Reflective Devices and Associated 
Equipment, was amended to require each truck with a GVWR of 10,000 
pounds or less and an overall width of less than 80 inches, that is 
manufactured on and after September 1, 1993, to be equipped with a 
center high-mounted stop lamp (56 FR 16015). In issuing the amendment, 
NHTSA pointed out that a noncompliance with Standard No. 108 would be 
created by installation of any truck camper which obscured the CHMSL, 
but that the noncompliance could be cured if an auxiliary CHMSL were 
provided by the camper manufacturer (p. 16018).
    Several manufacturers of slide-in campers and caps petitioned NHTSA 
for an amendment of Standard No. 108 to address a different 
noncompliance which they believe would be created by the installation 
of their product. These petitioners are American Paneltronics, Inc., 
Leer Inc., National Vehicle Conversion Association, Inc. (NVCA), and 
Russell Products, Inc. The truck cap industry has been offering 
auxiliary CHMSLs on some models of caps for several years even though 
the requirements have applied only to passengers cars. Since the trucks 
at that time lacked a CHMSL circuit, two of the petitioners, Russell 
and Paneltronics, developed devices known as logic circuits (or boxes) 
to power the auxiliary CHMSLs using the trucks' conventional combined 
stop/turn signal circuits. The logic circuit causes the CHMSL to light 
when the truck stop lamps light, and it prevents the truck turn signals 
from activating the CHMSL. However, the logic circuits are unable to 
prevent the flashing of CHMSLs with the activation of a truck's hazard 
warning system.
    Standard No. 108 requires that stop lamps be steady burning when 
they are activated, and to be activated only on application of the 
service brakes. Thus, auxiliary cap CHMSLs which flash with the hazard 
warning system cannot legally substitute for the original equipment 
CHMSL which the cap obscures. Russell, Paneltronics, and Leer 
petitioned for rulemaking that would excuse them from providing a 
complying auxiliary CHMSL until September 1, 1995. NVCA asked for a 1-
year delay. The petitioners contend that additional time is needed to 
educate installers to use the truck CHMSL circuit, to develop improved 
logic circuits, and to urge truck manufacturers to supply more 
convenient connectors for cap CHMSLs.
    The first argument that the petitioners raise in support of their 
request is that of precedent. Standard No. 108 permitted passenger care 
CHMSLs to flash from August 1, 1984, to September 1, 1986. It is true 
that optional CHMSLs (those provided between August 1, 1984, and 
September 1, 1985) and the initial mandatory ones (between September 1, 
1985, and September 1, 1986) were permitted to flash. The agency 
allowed this because it wanted to introduce the CHMSL at the earliest 
practicable moment, and concluded that any detriment to safety that 
might be presented by a flashing CHMSL was more than compensated for by 
the benefits to be derived by a lamp mounted high on the vertical 
centerline of a passenger car. Virtually no passenger cars had stop 
lamp circuity independent of the hazard warning signal system at that 
time, and the installation of a fundamentally redesigned wiring system 
could have delayed the introduction of CHMSLs.
    The cap industry is not facing a similar situation. Every vehicle 
for which a cap CHMSL will be required is already being manufactured 
with an independent CHMSL circuit. Thus, the cap CHMSL may be connected 
directly to the truck CHMSL circuit without the need for a logic 
circuit. For this reason, NHTSA does not consider the initial 
regulatory treatment of the passenger CHMSL as an apt precedent for 
their situation.
    The petitioners also cite an assumed lack of capability of dealer/
installers as a reason for retaining the now-unnecessary logic boxes. 
NVCA claims that ``sophisticated wiring harnesses, routed under the 
vehicle into the engine compartment, to connect the CHMSL to the 
service brake wiring only, are beyond the experience of most cap 
dealers.'' In a similar vein, Leer stated that its dealers ``may lack 
the technical ability to correctly wire a CHMSL without the potential 
of damaging the OEM wiring harness & or otherwise void the truck 
manufacturer's original warranty''.
    NVCA submitted a copy of Ford Technical Bulletin Q-28 concerning 
adding or relocating CHMSLs on 1994 F-Series and Ranger pickups as an 
example of training material that it believes will eventually aid 
installers. The Bulletin shows that the 1994 F-Series trucks have a 
dedicated connector in the engine compartment for a supplementary 
CHMSL. Ford's connection method is the obvious universal method which 
does not depend on auxiliary connectors. Using it will require only 
routing a wire under the vehicle. This method of connection does not 
require more electrical and mechanical skill than the use of a logic 
circuit. This is not beyond the capabilities and skills of dealers who 
were previously installing logic circuits.
    Further, it appears that the use of logic boxes might in and of 
itself void the vehicle warranty. The Ford Bulletin contains warnings 
against splicing into the rear lamp stop circuit to feed the CHMSL 
circuit and the use of quick-splice type connections. Installing the 
product of at least one petitioner could violate these warnings.
    Leer's final argument is that, to the best of its knowledge, 
domestic truck manufacturers have no short term plans to provide a 
``pigtail'' connector for the attachment of a truck CHMSL, and that the 
industry could use the period until September 1, 1995, to urge truck 
manufacturers to provide a rear pigtail. Paneltronics joins it in this 
    The Ford Bulletin submitted by NVCA indicates that the 1994 Ford F-
Series does have a dedicated supplementary CHMSL pigtail, although it 
is located under the hood rather than at the end of the truck. As most 
truck manufacturers are expected to offer a CHMSL located on the 
outside rear of the cab, the most convenient CHMSL ``pigtail'' may be 
the OEM CHMSL bulb socket.
    In summary, simply connecting the supplementary cap CHMSL to the 
truck CHMSL circuit enables it to operate in compliance with Standard 
No. 108. The complexity of the complying connection is no greater than 
the use of the logic box connection advocated by the petitioners.
    This completes NHTSA's technical review of the petitions. It has 
been determined that there is no reasonable possibility that the 
amendment requested in the petition will be effected at the conclusion 
of a rulemaking proceeding, and the petitions are denied.

    Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1410a; delegations of authority at 49 CFR 
1.50 and 501.8.

    Issued on: March 24, 1994.
Barry Felrice,
Associate Administrator for Rulemaking.
[FR Doc. 94-7406 Filed 3-29-94; 8:45 am]

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