[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 25 (Monday, February 8, 2016)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 6454-6458]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-02268]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

49 CFR Part 571

[Docket No. NHTSA-2014-0073]
RIN 2127-AL27


Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Lamps, Reflective 
Devices, and Associated Equipment

AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 
Department of Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: NHTSA is amending the side marker requirements contained in 
the

[[Page 6455]]

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) on lamps, reflective 
devices and associated equipment for vehicles 80 inches or more in 
width and less than 30 feet long. This final rule adopts the amendments 
proposed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), published on 
December 4, 2012. These amendments will restore the side marker 
photometry requirements for motor vehicles under thirty feet in length 
that were in place prior to the 2007 final rule that reorganized the 
standard. Restoration of the side marker requirements will have no 
negative impact on safety or function and will allow motor vehicle 
manufacturers to avoid unnecessary modifications to their side marker 
lamps with no added safety or functional benefit.

DATES: Effective Date: August 8, 2016. Compliance Date: Optional early 
compliance as discussed below.
    Petitions for Reconsideration: Petitions for reconsideration of 
this final rule must be received not later than March 24, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Any petitions for reconsideration should refer to the docket 
number of this document and be submitted to: Administrator, National 
Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West 
Building, Ground Floor, Docket Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
    For technical issues: Mr. Wayne McKenzie, Office of Crash Avoidance 
Standards, NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, 
Washington, DC 20590 (Telephone: (202) 366-1729) (Fax: (202) 366-7002).
    For legal issues: Mr. John Piazza, Office of the Chief Counsel, 
NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., West Building, Washington, DC 20590 
(Telephone: (202) 366-2992) (Fax: (202) 366-3820).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    Side marker lamps have been required by FMVSS No. 108 since it was 
promulgated as one of the initial Federal Motor Vehicles Safety 
Standards in 1967.\1\ The main purpose of side marker lamps is to 
indicate the overall length of the vehicle. The photometric 
requirements are meant to ensure that the side marker lamps are 
sufficiently visible from a range of viewing angles. This final rule 
addresses an unintentional change NHTSA made to the photometric 
requirements for side marker lamps when it reorganized FMVSS No. 108 in 
2007.\2\ Before considering the changes made by this final rule, it is 
useful to briefly examine the evolution of the side marker requirements 
before 2007.
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    \1\ See 32 FR 2408 (Feb. 3, 1967).
    \2\ 72 FR 68234 (Dec. 4, 2007). The reorganized standard did not 
take effect until December 1, 2012. 76 FR 48009 (Aug. 8, 2011).
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    Relevant to the present rulemaking is a change that was made to the 
side marker requirements in 1980 in response to a petition for 
rulemaking from Chrysler Corporation.\3\ At the time of the Chrysler 
petition, FMVSS No. 108 required that the photometric requirements for 
side marker lamps be met at test points 45 degrees outboard and inboard 
of the lateral center line passing through the lamps. FMVSS No. 108, 
however, permitted an additional compliance option for vehicles less 
than 80 inches in width. This additional compliance option had the 
effect of relaxing the inboard photometry requirements for the side 
marker lamps.\4\ Chrysler--which wanted to use a common side marker 
design for its single-wheeled (less than 80 inches wide) and its dual-
wheeled (greater than 80 inches wide) pickup trucks--petitioned to make 
this compliance option available to all vehicles regardless of width. 
NHTSA agreed with Chrysler that eligibility for the additional 
compliance option should not depend on a vehicle's width, but did not 
agree that it should be available to all vehicles. The agency explained 
that the additional compliance option would not be appropriate for 
vehicles that are 30 feet or longer.\5\ Accordingly, the 1980 final 
rule revised FMVSS No. 108 by deleting the words ``80 inches in overall 
width'' and substituting ``30 feet in overall length.''
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    \3\ 45 FR 45287 (July 3, 1980).
    \4\ Specifically, under this additional compliance option, the 
photometric requirements could be met for all inboard test points at 
a distance of 15 feet from the vehicle and on a vertical plane that 
is perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle and located 
midway between the front and rear side marker lamps. This results in 
an angle of less than 45 degrees instead of the fixed 45 degrees 
that was otherwise required, so that the side marker lamp was 
effectively permitted to illuminate a smaller area than it otherwise 
would have been required to illuminate. See 45 FR 45287 (July 3, 
1980) (citing 49 CFR 571.108, S4.1.1.8).
    \5\ This is because testing of side marker lamps is done at a 
distance of 15 feet perpendicular to the vehicle and at a 45 degree 
angle. At such a distance and angle, only a vehicle 30 feet long or 
under would have both of its side marker lamps visible.
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    The next change to the side marker requirements relevant to this 
final rule occurred in 2007, when NHTSA reorganized FMVSS No. 108. The 
reorganization was intended to streamline the regulatory text and 
clarify the standard's requirements. That final rule made the standard 
more user-friendly by significantly reducing the number of third-party 
documents, such as SAE \6\ standards, incorporated by reference. Prior 
to the reorganization, FMVSS No. 108 would, in many instances, specify 
requirements by simply referencing an SAE standard (which contained the 
requirements), instead of explicitly specifying those requirements in 
the text of FMVSS No. 108. However, when the standard was reorganized 
in 2007, requirements contained in the referenced third-party standards 
were included directly in the regulatory text, instead of incorporating 
the requirements by referencing the standard that contained those 
requirements. The agency explained that the reorganization was 
administrative in nature and that the FMVSS No. 108 requirements were 
not being increased, decreased, or substantively modified.
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    \6\ The Society of Automotive Engineers (now SAE International). 
SAE is an organization that develops technical standards based on 
best practices.
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    However, the newly revised version of FMVSS No. 108 inadvertently 
changed the alternative compliance option for side marker lamps. Prior 
to the reorganization, side marker lamps were required to conform to 
SAE Standard J592e (July 1972) (i.e., the requirements were specified 
using incorporation by reference). In addition, the pre-reorganization 
regulatory text also explicitly specified the alternative compliance 
option that was the subject of the 1980 final rule.\7\ The side marker 
lamp requirements specified in SAE J592e (July 1972) also included (in 
a footnote) an alternative compliance option for vehicles less than 80 
inches wide. This was the same compliance option for which the agency 
had deleted the words ``80 inches in overall width'' and added the 
words ``30 feet in overall length'' in the 1980 final rule. When NHTSA 
reorganized FMVSS No. 108 in 2007, the requirements contained in SAE 
Standard J592e (July 1972) were included directly into the regulatory 
text of FMVSS No. 108, thus eliminating the incorporation by reference; 
\8\ this included the width-based compliance option that we had deleted 
from FMVSS No. 108 in 1980. Accordingly, the 2007 reorganization 
specified the alternative compliance option that for each motor vehicle 
less than 30 feet in overall length and less than 2032 mm [80 inches] 
in overall width, the minimum photometric intensity requirements for a

[[Page 6456]]

side marker lamp may be met for all inboard test points at a distance 
of 15 feet from the vehicle and on a vertical plane that is 
perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle and located 
midway between the front and rear side marker lamps.\9\
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    \7\ The 1980 final rule placed this requirement in S4.1.1.8. Due 
to subsequent amendments, at the time of the 2007 reorganization, 
the requirement was in S5.1.1.8.
    \8\ The requirements were placed in a new table, Table X.
    \9\ See S7.4.13.2.
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    Therefore, the agency inadvertently added back into FMVSS No. 108 
the same width-based language it had deleted in 1980. This had the 
effect of substantively changing the side marker requirements by 
limiting the vehicles that were eligible for the additional compliance 
option. Before the reorganization, vehicles less than 30 feet long were 
eligible; after the rewrite, a vehicle had to be both less than 30 feet 
long and less than 80 inches wide. The agency did not cite within its 
analysis in the 2007 final rule the 1980 rulemaking that replaced the 
width criterion with the length criterion.\10\
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    \10\ The agency did receive comments to the NPRM to reorganize 
FMVSS No. 108 that stated that the agency's proposal to add the 
width criterion to the side marker requirements was a substantive 
change to the side marker requirements. However, these comments did 
not cite the 1980 rulemaking that had deleted the width criterion.
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II. 2012 Side Marker NPRM

    To address this change, NHTSA published a notice of proposed 
rulemaking (NPRM) on December 4, 2012.\11\ As we explained in the NPRM, 
based on our communications with vehicle manufacturers, a petition for 
rulemaking from the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers, and our 
review of the 1980 final rule, NHTSA recognized that the 2007 rewrite 
erroneously added the width requirement back into the standard. This 
inadvertent change might have required manufacturers to perform costly 
redesigns in order to comply with the 2007 final rule. Accordingly, the 
NPRM proposed to restore the pre-reorganization side marker 
requirements for vehicles that are 80 inches or more in width and less 
than 30 feet long. Considering the cost manufacturers would have to 
incur as a result of the modifications in the 2007 final rule, NHTSA 
announced in the 2012 NPRM that it would not pursue compliance actions 
against manufacturers that install side marker lamps on vehicles that 
are 80 inches or more in width and less than 30 feet long that fail to 
meet the 45 degree inboard photometric requirements of the 2007 final 
rule, provided that they meet the photometric requirements at a 
distance of 15 feet from the vehicle and on a vertical plane that is 
perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle and located 
midway between the front and rear side marker lamps. NHTSA stated that 
this enforcement policy would be effective until the rulemaking was 
completed. That enforcement policy will end as of the effective date of 
this final rule.
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    \11\ 77 FR 71752, Dec. 4, 2012.
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III. Comments on the NPRM

    NHTSA received only three comments in response to the 2012 NPRM. 
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (the ``Alliance'') stated that 
it agrees with NHTSA's analysis of the situation surrounding the 
changes to FMVSS No. 108 during the administrative reorganization 
process as well as the proposed revisions. The Alliance stated that the 
proposed changes would bring the side marker photometry requirements 
back in line with the original intent of the 1980 final rule and 
restore the requirements that were in force prior to the 2007 final 
rule. The Alliance also commented that the phrase ``. . . and less than 
80 inches (2m) in overall width'' should be deleted from footnote 1 of 
Table X to ensure there is no ambiguity concerning the application of 
side marker lamp inboard photometry requirements.
    General Motors submitted a comment in support of the change to the 
proposal and stated that the proposed changes would restore the 
previous requirements and would have no overall effect on safety.
    The European Commission submitted a comment requesting an extension 
of the comment period to February 5, 2013.

IV. Agency Comment Analysis and Agency Decision

    NHTSA has carefully considered the comments submitted in this 
rulemaking. We have reviewed the comments received from GM and the 
Alliance and agree with the rationale presented. Having received no 
information to the contrary, we are amending S7.4.13.2 of FMVSS No. 108 
to delete the phrase ``and less than 2032 mm in overall width,'' 
consistent with the proposal. This revision will restore the 
photometric requirements in FMVSS No. 108 for side marker lamps on 
vehicles less than 30 feet in length so that the requirements may be 
met for all inboard test points at a distance of 15 feet from the 
vehicle on a vertical plane that is perpendicular to the longitudinal 
axis of the vehicle and located midway between the front and rear side 
marker lamps, regardless of the width of the vehicle.
    We have also decided to adopt the Alliance's proposed revision to 
footnote 1 of Table X. The text in the footnote that the Alliance 
proposes to delete--``and less than 80 inches (2m) in overall width''--
is essentially the same as the text we are deleting from S7.4.13.2. 
Similarly revising this footnote will make the requirements stated in 
the footnote consistent with the requirements stated in S7.4.13.2.
    With respect to the comment from the European Commission, NHTSA 
chose not to extend the comment period formally because we stated in 
the NPRM that the agency would consider late comments to the extent 
practicable. Given that this final rule is being published several 
years after the NPRM and we did not receive any additional comments or 
requests to extend the comment period, we consider this comment 
resolved.

V. Effective Date

    In the NPRM we proposed an effective date of 30 days after 
publication of the final rule. Under the Safety Act, a FMVSS typically 
is not effective before the 180th day after the standard is published. 
We did not receive any comments concerning the proposed effective date. 
Therefore, in keeping with typical practice, this final rule will be 
effective August 8, 2016, with optional early compliance. We believe 
that specifying a later effective date for this final rule will not 
have any adverse effects or prejudice regulated entities. Moreover, 
providing for optional early compliance will allow manufacturers to 
immediately benefit from the flexibility afforded by the revised side 
marker requirements the same as if the effective date were earlier. 
NHTSA's compliance policy stated in the 2012 NPRM is terminated as of 
the effective date of this final rule.

VI. Regulatory Notices and Analyses

A. Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and DOT Regulatory 
Policies and Procedures

    NHTSA has considered the impact of this rulemaking action under 
Executive Order 12866, Executive Order 13563, and the DOT's regulatory 
policies and procedures. This final rule was not reviewed by the Office 
of Management and Budget (OMB) under E.O. 12866, ``Regulatory Planning 
and Review.'' It is not considered to be significant under E.O. 12866 
or the Department's regulatory policies and procedures.
    This final rule restores requirements to the standard that were 
unintentionally changed during the administrative revision of the 
standard. Because this final rule merely restores previously existing 
requirements it is not expected to have any costs. This

[[Page 6457]]

final rule allows manufacturers to avoid the cost of redesigning the 
side marker lamps for dual-wheeled pickup trucks because these vehicles 
can now continue to meet the side marker photometry requirements for 
narrower vehicles. Because there are not any costs associated with this 
rulemaking and only minor benefits, we have not prepared a separate 
economic analysis for this rulemaking.

B. Executive Order 13609: Promoting International Regulatory 
Cooperation

    The policy statement in section 1 of Executive Order 13609 
provides, in part:

    The regulatory approaches taken by foreign governments may 
differ from those taken by U.S. regulatory agencies to address 
similar issues. In some cases, the differences between the 
regulatory approaches of U.S. agencies and those of their foreign 
counterparts might not be necessary and might impair the ability of 
American businesses to export and compete internationally. In 
meeting shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, 
environmental, and other issues, international regulatory 
cooperation can identify approaches that are at least as protective 
as those that are or would be adopted in the absence of such 
cooperation. International regulatory cooperation can also reduce, 
eliminate, or prevent unnecessary differences in regulatory 
requirements.

    NHTSA is not aware of any conflicting regulatory approach taken by 
a foreign government concerning the subject matter of this rulemaking.

C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 60l et 
seq., NHTSA has evaluated the effects of this action on small entities. 
I hereby certify that this rule would not have a significant impact on 
a substantial number of small entities. The final rule would affect 
manufacturers of motor vehicle light equipment, but the entities that 
qualify as small businesses would not be significantly affected by this 
rulemaking because the agency is restoring requirements that previously 
existed in an older version of the regulation. This rulemaking is not 
expected to affect the cost of manufacturing motor vehicle lighting 
equipment.

D. Executive Order 13132

    NHTSA has examined this rule pursuant to Executive Order 13132 (64 
FR 43255, August 10, 1999) and concluded that no additional 
consultation with States, local governments or their representatives is 
mandated beyond the rulemaking process. The agency has concluded that 
the rulemaking would not have sufficient federalism implications to 
warrant consultation with State and local officials or the preparation 
of a federalism summary impact statement. The final rule would not have 
``substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between 
the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power 
and responsibilities among the various levels of government.''
    NHTSA rules can preempt in two ways. First, the National Traffic 
and Motor Vehicle Safety Act contains an express preemption provision: 
``When a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this chapter, 
a State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe or continue 
in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of performance of a 
motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if the standard is 
identical to the standard prescribed under this chapter.'' 49 U.S.C. 
30103(b)(1). It is this statutory command by Congress that preempts any 
non-identical State legislative and administrative law addressing the 
same aspect of performance.
    The express preemption provision set forth above is subject to a 
savings clause under which ``[c]ompliance with a motor vehicle safety 
standard prescribed under this chapter does not exempt a person from 
liability at common law.'' 49 U.S.C. 30103(e). Pursuant to this 
provision, State common law tort causes of action against motor vehicle 
manufacturers that might otherwise be preempted by the express 
preemption provision are generally preserved.
    However, the Supreme Court has recognized the possibility, in some 
instances, of implied preemption of such State common law tort causes 
of action by virtue of NHTSA's rules, even if not expressly preempted. 
This second way that NHTSA rules can preempt is dependent upon there 
being an actual conflict between an FMVSS and the higher standard that 
would effectively be imposed on motor vehicle manufacturers if someone 
obtained a State common law tort judgment against the manufacturer, 
notwithstanding the manufacturer's compliance with the NHTSA standard. 
Because most NHTSA standards established by an FMVSS are minimum 
standards, a State common law tort cause of action that seeks to impose 
a higher standard on motor vehicle manufacturers will generally not be 
preempted. However, if and when such a conflict does exist--for 
example, when the standard at issue is both a minimum and a maximum 
standard--the State common law tort cause of action is impliedly 
preempted. See Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., 529 U.S. 861 (2000).
    Pursuant to Executive Order 13132 and 12988, NHTSA has considered 
whether this rule could or should preempt State common law causes of 
action. The agency's ability to announce its conclusion regarding the 
preemptive effect of one of its rules reduces the likelihood that 
preemption will be an issue in any subsequent tort litigation.
    To this end, the agency has examined the nature (e.g., the language 
and structure of the regulatory text) and objectives of this rule and 
finds that this rule, like many NHTSA rules, prescribes only a minimum 
safety standard. As such, NHTSA does not intend that this rule preempt 
state tort law that would effectively impose a higher standard on motor 
vehicle manufacturers than that established by this rule. Establishment 
of a higher standard by means of State tort law would not conflict with 
the minimum standard announced here. Without any conflict, there could 
not be any implied preemption of a State common law tort cause of 
action.

E. National Environmental Policy Act

    NHTSA has analyzed this final rule for the purposes of the National 
Environmental Policy Act. The agency has determined that implementation 
of this action would not have any significant impact on the quality of 
the human environment.

F. Paperwork Reduction Act

    Under the procedures established by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995, a person is not required to respond to a collection of 
information by a Federal agency unless the collection displays a valid 
OMB control number. This final rule would not establish any new 
information collection requirements.

G. National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act

    Under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 
(NTTAA) (Pub. L. 104-113), ``all Federal agencies and departments shall 
use technical standards that are developed or adopted by voluntary 
consensus standards bodies, using such technical standards as a means 
to carry out policy objectives or activities determined by the agencies 
and departments.'' This final rule would not adopt or reference any new 
industry or consensus standards that were not already present in FMVSS 
No. 108.

H. Civil Justice Reform

    With respect to the review of the promulgation of a new regulation, 
section 3(b) of Executive Order 12988,

[[Page 6458]]

``Civil Justice Reform'' (61 FR 4729, February 7, 1996) requires that 
Executive agencies make every reasonable effort to ensure that the 
regulation: (1) Clearly specifies the preemptive effect; (2) clearly 
specifies the effect on existing Federal law or regulation; (3) 
provides a clear legal standard for affected conduct, while promoting 
simplification and burden reduction; (4) clearly specifies the 
retroactive effect, if any; (5) specifies whether administrative 
proceedings are to be required before parties file suit in court; (6) 
adequately defines key terms; and (7) addresses other important issues 
affecting clarity and general draftsmanship under any guidelines issued 
by the Attorney General. This document is consistent with these 
requirements.
    Pursuant to this Order, NHTSA notes as follows. The preemptive 
effect of this final rule is discussed above. NHTSA notes further that 
there is no requirement that individuals submit a petition for 
reconsideration or pursue other administrative proceeding before they 
may file suit in court.

I. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 requires agencies to 
prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits and other effects 
of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate likely to 
result in the expenditure by State, local or tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than $100 million annually 
(adjusted for inflation with base year of 1995). This final rule would 
not result in expenditures by State, local or tribal governments, in 
the aggregate, or by the private sector in excess of $100 million 
annually.

J. Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211 (66 FR 28355, May 18, 2001) applies to any 
rulemaking that: (1) Is determined to be economically significant as 
defined under E.O. 12866, and is likely to have a significantly adverse 
effect on the supply of, distribution of, or use of energy; or (2) that 
is designated by the Administrator of the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs as a significant energy action. This rulemaking is 
not subject to E.O. 13211.

K. Regulation Identifier Number (RIN)

    The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier 
number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of 
Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center 
publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may 
use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document 
to find this action in the Unified Agenda.

L. Privacy Act

    Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments 
received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual 
submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf 
of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT's 
complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on 
April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477-78).

Regulatory Text

List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571

    Imports, Motor vehicle safety, Motor vehicles, Tires.

    In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA is amending 49 CFR part 
571 as set forth below.

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

0
1. The authority citation for part 571 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 322, 30111, 30115, 30117, 30166: 
delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95.


0
2. Section 571.108 is amended by revising paragraph S7.4.13.2 and 
footnote 1 of Table X to read as follows:


Sec.  571.108  Standard No. 108; Lamps, reflective devices, and 
associated equipment.

* * * * *
    S7.4.13.2 Inboard photometry. For each motor vehicle less than 30 
feet in overall length, the minimum photometric intensity requirements 
for a side marker lamp may be met for all inboard test points at a 
distance of 15 feet from the vehicle and on a vertical plane that is 
perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the vehicle and located 
midway between the front and rear side marker lamps.
* * * * *

Table X--Side Marker Lamp Photometry Requirements

* * * * *
    (1) Where a side marker lamp installed on a motor vehicle less than 
30 feet in overall length has the lateral angle nearest the other 
required side marker lamp on the same side of the vehicle reduced from 
45[deg] by design as specified by S7.4.13.2, the photometric intensity 
measurement may be met at the lesser angle.
* * * * *

    Issued in Washington, DC, on February 1, 2016 under authority 
delegated in 49 CFR 1.95.
Mark R. Rosekind,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2016-02268 Filed 2-5-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4910-59-P