Ted Gaston, Director of Maintenance
Muncie Indiana Transit System
1300 E Seymour Street
Muncie, IN 47302
Dear Mr. Gaston:
This responds to your recent e-mail asking whether Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108,Lamps, Reflective Devices and Associated Equipment, permits a hazard warning flasher system that actuates automatically each time a transit bus stops to pick up and discharge passengers. Our answer is no.
By way of background, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not provide approvals of motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment. Under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301, manufacturers are required to certify that their vehicles and equipment meet applicable requirements.
In your e-mail, you describe a hazard warning flasher system which would automatically actuate each time the following criteria are met: (1) the bus is in gear, (2) brakes are applied, (3) the bus speed is below 3 mph, and (4) the front door is opened.
Table I of FMVSS No. 108 requires motor vehicles, including transit buses, to be equipped with hazard warning signal systems, as specified in SAE Recommended Practice J910, February 1966. Paragraph 1 of SAE J910 defines such system, in part, as "a driver controlled device which causes all turn signal lamps to flash simultaneously". We have previously interpreted "driver controlled" to mean that the hazard warning signal system must be activated and deactivated by the driver and not by automatic means (please see attached letters to Paul Michelotti, Eric Reed, and Mark Steele). Accordingly, the system being contemplated by Muncie Indiana Transit System would be prohibited by FMVSS No. 108.
I hope you find this information helpful. If you need further assistance, please contact George Feygin of my staff at this address or at (202) 366-2992.