THINGSYOU SHOULD KNOW -
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: When were the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards enacted into law?
A: Congress enacted this legislation in 1966 to establish uniform safety standards for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. NHTSA has the responsibility and authority for carrying out the mandates of this law.
Q: What specific products are covered?
A: FMVSS-108 defines requirements for headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, license plate lamps, reflectors, side markers, back-up lamps, turn signal lamps, flashers, signal switches,
identification lamps, clearance lamps, parking lamps and reflective tape.
Q: May individual States enact and enforce safety standards which are different than the Federal standards?
Q: To whom does the law apply?
A: Section 108 of the National Safety Act of 1966 states: “No person shall manufacture for sale, sell, offer for sale, or introduce into the United States any motor vehicle or item of motor
vehicle equipment unless it is in conformity with such standards.” As you can see these
standards apply not only to the motor vehicle manufacturer, but to distributors, dealers and importers as well.
Q: What are the penalties for non-conformance with the Standards?
A: The NHTSA cooperates with manufacturers and distributors so that every effort is made to resolve compliance problems by “corrective action” and reviewing the data supporting “due care” process. The law, however, provides for the recall of non-conforming products and fines when the NHTSA investigations show that “due care” has not been exercised. As of now, over 100 recalls have been initiated on FMVSS 108 products, involving over 1,000,000 products. Fines have been assessed for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The NHTSA considers this a serious business.
Q: How does NHTSA deal with “non-conforming” or counterfeit regulated safety items which are produced “off shore” and imported here?
A: The enforcement arm of NHTSA is aware of the situation as it relates to non-conforming
products and as of this date is attempting to investigate and take appropriate actions whenever possible.
Q: How can “distributors” be assured that the products they handle are in compliance with the applicable safety standards?
A: Your best bet is to deal only with companies that have an established reputation for quality. You will find that they have made substantial investments in quality programs, test equipment, etc.
Q: Are Federal Safety Standards applicable to both original and replacement items?
A: Yes, FMVSS-108 applies to both aftermarket and original equipment items.
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