WASHINGTON — SEMA has filed a petition for reconsideration urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to withdraw its final interpretation of the federal lighting rule that effectively bans previously legal headlamp replacement systems.
Under NHTSA’s new policy, which took effect in October, replacement headlamps must comply with all applicable photometry requirements using the same light source as the OEM equipment. For example, the rule would now prohibit replacing a halogen-based system with high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps that otherwise meet all requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108.
SEMA filed a Petition for Reconsideration challenging NHTSA’s authority to issue a rule that failed to comply with long-standing policy of basing federal safety standards on performance rather than design criteria. According to SEMA, NHTSA did not supply any objective facts demonstrating a need for a design-based application of FMVSS No. 108, a prerequisite for issuance of a safety standard. In addition, the association said the action contradicts NHTSA’s previous decision to withdraw its rulemakings on issues concerning glare since the agency admits there is not currently enough information on which to make any lighting rule changes. SEMA also contends that NHTSA engaged in an illegal rulemaking procedure.
“The agency’s interpretation effectively establishes an original equipment standard for headlamp light sources and holds that the original equipment light source type cannot be modified or otherwise altered by aftermarket manufacturers seeking to improve the lighting of a given vehicle,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “There is absolutely no industry support for a design-restrictive application of FMVSS No. 108.
“Through this petition, SEMA stands prepared to fight for a consumer’s right to responsibly accessorize, modify and improve the safety of their vehicle with enhanced aftermarket lighting that meets federal standards,” added Kersting. “There is no legitimate justification for preventing vehicle lighting manufacturers from offering this federally-compliant and improved lighting equipment to the benefit of the motoring public.”
SEMA requested that NHTSA suspend enforcement of the amended rule pending final consideration of the petition.
For more information about SEMA, go to: www.sema.org .
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