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NHTSA

Mac Made

DOT or NOT Approved?

Below are 16 quotes linked to their corresponding NHTSA letters taken from NHTSA's webside (Acrobat PDFs). As you can see, the NHTSA/DOT does NOT approve equipment. As such, "DOT Approved" helmets do not exist. So how can folks like those in Louisiana comply with their law? They can't! Still doubtful? Call NHTSA 202-366-9511.

"It [DOT sticker] does not represent any "approval" by DOT. We [NHTSA] have no authority to 'approve' or 'disapprove' vehicles or equipment." 8/15/02, Jacqueline Glassman, Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"Motorcycle helmets are subject to FMVSS No. 218 (49 CFR §571.218), which specifies performance requirements for helmets to ensure that helmets reduce the likelihood of head injuries in crashes. The DOT symbol on the helmet is a certification by the helmet manufacturer, not the DOT, that the helmet conforms to FMVSS No. 218. The standard does not specify performance requirements for motorcycle helmet visors. There currently is no FMVSS that applies to the visor." 2/11/02, John Womack, Acting Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"You also mentioned that 'all the assembly parts . . . are already D.O.T. approved parts.' We do not know what you mean by this statement. The Department of Transportation neither approves nor disapproves parts. ...Trintex may not represent that the Cord is 'D.O.T. approved;' you must not use this expression in any manner in connection with this product." 3/21/01, John Womack, Acting Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"This term [DOT approved] has no basis in either fact or law. We have no authority to approve or disapprove items of motor vehicle equipment." 6/26/00, Frank Seales, Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"...as a matter of law, there is no such thing as 'D.O.T. approved parts.' We [NHTSA] have no authority to approve or disapprove motor vehicles or equipment items." 6/5/00, Frank Seales, Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"You use the term 'dot approved,' but we have no authority to 'approve' or 'disapprove' vehicle lighting equipment, and such language is improper." 6/20/00, Frank Seales, Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"NHTSA neither approves, disapproves, endorses, tests, nor grants clearances for products prior to their introduction into the retail market." 3/23/99, Frank Seales, Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"NHTSA does not approve, disapprove, endorse, test, or grant clearances for products prior to their introduction into the retail market." 3/23/99, Frank Seales, Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"DOT has no authority to approve or disapprove any equipment item..." 9/22/98, Frank Seales, Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"The Department has no authority to 'approve' or 'disapprove' items of equipment, nor are there any 'D.O.T. licensing requirements,'" 5/13/98, John Womack, Acting Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"D.O.T. itself has no authority to 'approve' or 'not approve' any item of equipment and the phrase 'D.O.T. approved' has no meaning and should not be used." 4/8/98, John Womack, Acting Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"...applicable laws do not provide authority for 'DOT approval' of vehicles or equipment items." 6/16/97, John Womack, Acting Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"The phrase 'DOT/SAE approved' should never be used. DOT does not have the authority to 'approve' or 'disapprove' motor vehicle equipment... In cases where 'DOT/SAE approved' appears on auxiliary lamps and their packages, the marking is meaningless." 1/8/97 John Womack, Acting Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"You have used the term 'DOT-approved' equipment which reflects a common misconception that the agency approves equipment. The agency has no authority to approve or disapprove any vehicle or equipment item." 5/9/96, Samuel Dubbin, Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"...your use of the words "DOT approved" reflects a common misconception. We have no authority to approve or disapprove lighting equipment." 12/22/95, Samuel Dubbin, Chief Counsel NHTSA.

"...neither NHTSA nor the Department of Transportation (DOT) approves, endorses, certifies, or gives assurances of compliance of any product." 5/18/94, John Womack, Acting Chief Counsel NHTSA.


Special thanks to Quig of BOLT for procurring the 16 NHTSA documents!

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