Mr. Ernst Waldeck
Vice President
FER North America, Inc.
P.O. Box 2229
Birmingham, MI 48012-2229

Dear Mr. Waldeck:

This is in reply to your FAX of October 15, 1996, to Rich Van Iderstine of this agency requesting approval of a design proposal to place a combination front side marker lamp and reflector behind the front wheel house.

As you noted, Table IV of Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108 requires front side marker lamps and reflectors to be located "as far to the front as practicable." The center of the combination device shown on the drawing you enclosed is 1222.6 mm from the front of the vehicle. In this location, it is behind the front wheel house. We surmise that this location is otherwise used for a turn signal repeater lamp in markets other than the United States.

As a general rule, it is initially the vehicle manufacturer that determines whether a specific location is "practicable" for its vehicle design. The agency will not contest that determination unless it is clearly erroneous. In this instance, we believe that it would be clearly erroneous to place the combination device at the location indicated. In that location, the combination device would not fulfill its intended function of indicating the forward edge of the vehicle. There appears to be ample room in front of the wheel house for location of the combination device so that it might more nearly fulfill that function. Unless the manufacturer can demonstrate convincingly that a location in front of the wheel house is not practicable, we would regard a location behind the wheel house as noncompliant with the requirements of Standard No. 108.

If you have any questions, you may refer them to Taylor Vinson of this Office (202-366-5263).


John Womack

Acting Chief Counsel