Janet Lee

Janet Lee
Photo:Janet Lee, injured by a taxi partition.

Monday, May 06, 2013

USDOT letter to Manufacturers

This letter (an official letter of warning) was sent to two Boston partition makers and one New York partition maker. It clarifies the applicability of federal standards to partitions.

Document 1                letter to manufacturers (Setina not notified)

JUNE, 22 1984


Bow Street Automotive
96 Bow Street
Everett, MA 02149

Dear Sir:

            It has come to the attention of this office that you may be in violation of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety act  of 1966  (The Act) ( 15 USC 1381 et. Seq.) by the manner in which you are installing partitions in taxicabs and or police cruisers.
            Section lO8(a)(2)(A) of the Act prohibits manufacturers, distributors dealers of  motor vehicle repair businesses from rendering inoperative, in whole or in part, any device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle . . . In compliance with an applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standard . . ."  Section 109 provides for civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each violation of section 106 not to exceed $800,000 for any related series of violations.

            The installation of the partition could affect the vehicle's conformity to the following Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards;

1.  FMVSS  No. 111, "Rearview Mirrors"
2.  FMVSS  No. 201, "Occupant Protection in Interior Impact"
3.  FMVSS  No. 203, "Occupant Crash Protection"

Vehicles must have a lap and shoulder belt assembly (Type 2) at both outboard seating positions. The removal of the required restraint systems is an obvious violation of the Act.

Section 108 of the Act also prohibits the sale or introduction into interstate commerce of any item of motor vehicle equipment unless it is in conformity with applicable FMVSS. The plastic material used in the partition must meet FMVSS No.205, "Glazing Materials," which includes requirements for certain markings.

The sale or introduction into interstate commerce of a noncomplying item of automotive equipment constitutes a separate violation of the Act which may also lead to civil penalties.

            If you add a partition to a new vehicle prior to sale to the first purchaser for purposes other than resale (user), you must add a certification label in accordance with Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 567 (49 CFR 567).

The following documents are enclosed:
1.         The Act
2.         49 CFR 567, "Certification"
3.         FMVSS No. 111, "Rearview Mirrors"
4.         FMVSS No. 201, "Occupant Protection in Interior Impact"
5.         FMVSS No. 208, "Occupant Crash Protection"
6.         FMVSS No. 205, "Glazing Materials," with pertinent excerpts from Z26.l as referenced in the standard.
If you have any questions please refer them to George Shifflett, a member of my staff, at 202-426-1693.

Francis Armstrong
Director Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance Enforcement
6 Enclosures

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