North Carolina Threatens Design Limits on Replacement Headlamps

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

Legislation has been introduced in North Carolina to impose a fine on any person who equips a car with headlamps that “change the original design.” The SEMA-opposed bill conflicts with the Federal “National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act.” Lawmakers and the courts have made clear that the standards adopted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are to be performance standards, not design standards, and that such standards are to apply equally to motor vehicles and motor-vehicle equipment. Further, all headlamps, be they manufactured by car manufacturers or in the aftermarket, are required to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 108. The bill also includes the requirement that an inspection mechanic use a light meter to determine if an aftermarket headlamp conforms with FMVSS No. 108, but does not require a light meter test of original equipment headlamps. 

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