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z-man-

I think those lights look sharp and they definitely get your attention. I have seen them more on cycles then on cars. Unfortunately they are illegal in most (if not all) states. I think GripperDon had an after-market version of that light.

-njjoe
 

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Definitely illegal

Pulsing brake lamps are definitely illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Under the applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards, ALL brake lamps must be steady-burning.

DaimlerChrysler filed a petition some time ago to allow flashing brake lamps and was shot down by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. DCAG later refiled and got a temporary "experimental" exemption for a limited number of Mercedes-Benz vehicles to have the flashing brake lamps - and even then, they only work in panic stops.

That all said, you can find lots of places that will sell you units to install that turn your brake lamps into flashing brake lamps. I personally have one such unit on my motorcycle - purely for "experimental" off-road purposes of course!

http://www.kisantech.com
 

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If they are illegal, I wonder why most of the city busses have them
here in Phoenix,Scottsdale and Glendale AZ.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Remember folks, I was talking about the Third Brake light only.
 

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Third brake light, main brake lights, doesn't matter. FMVSS 108 expressly requires that ALL brake lamps be steady burning. See 49 C.F.R. 573.108 S5.5.10 as set forth below:

S5.5.10 The wiring requirements for lighting equipment in use are:
(a) Turn signal lamps, hazard warning signal lamps, and school bus
warning lamps shall be wired to flash;
(b) Headlamps and side marker lamps may be wired to flash for
signaling purposes;
(c) A motorcycle headlamp may be wired to allow either its upper
beam or its lower beam, but not both, to modulate from a higher
intensity to a lower intensity in accordance with section S5.6;
(d) All other lamps shall be wired to be steady-burning.
NHTSA has issued interpretation letters stating that subsection (d) expressly applies to brake lamps. As noted to in a 1993 letter from NHTSA's Chief Counsel's office to David Lee, President of Lee Family, Inc.

Motor vehicle lighting in the United States is subject to both Federal and State requirements. The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 108 Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment are the Federal requirements to which I refer. Standard No. 108 prescribes requirements for center highmounted stop lamps that must be followed by the manufacturer of the vehicle, and met at the time the vehicle is sold by the dealer to its first owner. One of these requirements is that the center highmounted stop lamp be steady burning when it is in use.
Granted, prohibitions on modifying safety equipment only apply to manufacturers, dealers, and commercial service centers so owner's could do this on their own. That's where the states step in. And as stated earlier, it is my understanding that all of the states prohibit flashing brake lamps of any kind consistent with federal law.

Of course, having a standard and enforcing that standard are two different animals. At least no cop has pulled me over for the "experimental" brake lamp on my motorcycle! :2:
 

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Jim C.-

Thanx for the great explanation.

I would not be surprised to see one of the more safety-minded automakers (Volvo, M-B) petition the NHTSA to allow for a flashing third-brake light. If done right it could definitely be attention grabbing.

-njjoe
 

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Well I think that MoPar asked a good question

We have blinking brake lights all over town here. So take the fed law and .



I got mine at a motorcycle shop called "The Back Off" and installed it in the 3rd brake light Led line. Works great, Helps get peoples attention. Mine blinks a couple of times and goes steady. Maybe people thought I had a jittery foot.

Anyway I always rebelled against authority so it was a motivator for me to have tinted tails and blinking 3rd brake lights. So there Ollie!
 

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Hey NJJoe - MB did petition NHTSA for the flashing brake lamps and got shot down. They did, however, get a temporary exemption for "experimental" purposes and have a bunch of MB vehicles that will flash brake lamps in a panic stop situation. The idea is to get data to convince NHTSA that the flashing brake lamps are a good idea.

Personally, I have my own data set - not being rear-ended in my 10 plus years of MC riding. I know the lamp works because drivers have stopped well back of me after seeing the brake lamps flash. Not so before I installed my "experimental" lamp! Of course, flashing brake lamps could end up being a lot like headlamps on during the day. Back when just MC's did it, you could really see them. Now that cars have it too, MC's are lost in the mix again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Jim C said:
I know the lamp works because drivers have stopped well back of me after seeing the brake lamps flash. Not so before I installed my "experimental" lamp!
I find that to be true when following a MC or a car with flashing 3rd light. It is not only attention grabbing, but also annoying so I stay away from it or get away from that vehicles behind....:D
 

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This thread is now seven years old! I've seen just two if these kits recently. One in a band new Optima GDI, and the other ( from today) a brand new M37. I like it. I've always been a big Formula 1 fan, & that's what I think of when I've seen it. So...I wonder if the laws listed above have been amended in the last seven years? The last thing I need is to hear from my wife that she was stopped by a Policeman due to an illegal brake light...

Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Still illegal. See this thread (external link).

FYI, Scheinwerfermann (moderator of that forum) has many decades of experience in the automotive lighting engineering field. And CHMSL = Center High Mount Stop Light.
 

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Thanks P McP. saved me from sleepin' in the dog house. :29:
 

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I'd be less worried about a ticket and more worried about a penny pinching insurance company denying your claim after an accident if they found out you had modified your brake lights to be non-DOT compliant.
 

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Section 108(a)(2) of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966, that is 15 U.S.C. 1397(a)(2) -- since recited as 49 USC 30122 -- says no manufacturer, distributor, dealer, or motor vehicle repair business shall knowingly render inoperative, in whole or in part, any device or element of design installed on or in a motor vehicle in compliance with an applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.

If this is how it is worded then it must be ok for the vehicle OWNER to modify,as I did.....
 

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I would think modifying the third brake light is the same as modifying the tail lights (tinting), headlights (non-OEM HID kits), and turn signals (non-OEM LED lamps). It may not be legal nor safe, but it is done.

Pulsing brake lights, especially during a panic stop, makes sense to me.

-njjoe
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
When traffic in front of me on freeway stops all of the sudden, my main concern is not me hitting the cars in front of me, but cars hitting me from behind. So as I hit my brakes, I also turn my emergency flashers on to warn the cars behind me. A pulsing brake light can do the same thing.
 

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Now that many (most? all?) third-brake lights are LED I would think it would be relatively easy for manufacturers to incorporate the flashing/pulsing effect.

I guess all it takes is the stodgy bureaucracy at the NHTSA to see the light (pun intended :12: ).

-njjoe
 
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