Mr. Song M. Kim
580 Sylvan Ave., Suite 1A
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
Dear Mr. Kim:
This is in reply to your letter of August 18, 2003, regarding High Intensity Discharge (HID) conversion kits. You informed us that you have been selling such kits to local distributors and dealer shops.
Your first question is whether the use of aftermarket HID conversion kits is "going to be illegal," and, if so, the reason for it. I enclose a copy of our letter of November 18, 2002, to Jeff Deetz, who had supplied an HID conversion kit for our examination. We informed Mr. Deetz that his kit was "not a design that conforms to the Standard [No. 108] and could not be certified as conforming with [Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard] (FMVSS) No. 108, nor imported into or sold in the United States."
HID conversion kits are illegal if any item in the kit does not comply with Federal requirements for vehicle lighting equipment. Please read the letter carefully and apply our analysis to the components of the kits you are selling. If one or more of these components does not comply with FMVSS No. 108, then you should cease the sale and distribution of this equipment. Your failure to do so could make your company liable for civil penalties for violations of 49 U.S.C. 30112(a). If your company manufactured or imported noncompliant HID conversion kits for resale, your company is required to notify this agency, dealers, purchasers, and owners of the kits and to remedy the noncompliance in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 30118-30120 and 49 CFR Parts 573 and 577. I should advise you that we know of no HID conversion kit that can be certified by its manufacturer as complying with FMVSS No. 108.
You expressed your understanding that "D.O.T. is an approvable organization," and asked "if we would like to get your approval for HID conversion system, what will be the necessary procedures?" We have no authority to approve or disapprove motor vehicle equipment. We have authority, however, to order the recall of noncompliant motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment. The symbol "DOT" on an item of equipment is sometimes misconstrued as approval by the Department of Transportation. In fact, the symbol is the manufacturer’s certification that the item complies with all applicable FMVSS, as required by 49 USC 30115.
If you have any further questions, you may call Mr. J. Edward Glancy of this office at (202) 366-5263.