SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 41, October 13, 2011

Customs Seizing Imports of Illegal HID Conversion Kits

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is impounding illegal imports of noncompliant high-intensity discharge (HID) conversion kits, light sources and ballasts. The CBP is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to pursue enforcement. As reported by SEMA for a number of years, the NHTSA has determined that it is impossible to produce HID conversion kits (converting a halogen system to HID) that would be compliant with the federal lighting standard, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108. The NHTSA is specifically concerned that HID conversion kits can produce excessive glare to oncoming motorists.

In recent months, CBP has identified hundreds of shipments for examination at various ports of entry across the United States. Since late 2009, CBP has seized more than 400,000 HID conversion kits and components valued at $5 million. Many of the shipments arrived via air cargo or express mail. CBP officers seize shipments when they determine that the equipment fails to meet NHTSA requirements that headlamp replaceable light sources be marked with the light source type, the light source manufacturer's name or trademark, and the DOT symbol indicating certification of compliance with governing regulations. The products may also be seized by CBP based on NHTSA’s conclusion that the equipment will not comply with FMVSS No. 108 since it will be installed in headlamps that were not designed for its use. 

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.

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