National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, pronounced "NITS-uh")[7] is an agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, part of the Department of Transportation. It describes its mission as "Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes."[8]

As part of its activities, NHTSA is charged with writing and enforcing Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards as well as regulations for motor vehicle theft resistance and fuel economy, as part of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) system. NHTSA also licenses vehicle manufacturers and importers, allows or blocks the import of vehicles and safety-regulated vehicle parts, administers the vehicle identification number (VIN) system, develops the anthropomorphic dummies used in safety testing, as well as the test protocols themselves, and provides vehicle insurance cost information. The agency has asserted preemptive regulatory authority over greenhouse gas emissions, but this has been disputed by such state regulatory agencies as the California Air Resources Board.

Another of NHTSA's major activities is the creation and maintenance of the data files maintained by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis. In particular, the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), has become a resource for traffic safety research not only in the United States, but throughout the world. Research contributions using FARS by researchers from many countries appear in many non-U.S. technical publications,[9] and provide a significant database and knowledge bank on the subject. Even with this database, conclusive analysis of crash causes often remains difficult and controversial, with experts debating the veracity and statistical validity of results.[9]

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration logo
Agency overview
FormedDecember 31, 1970
Preceding agency
  • National Highway Safety Bureau[1]
JurisdictionU.S. motor vehicles[2]
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., U.S.
Motto"People saving people"[3]
Employees626 (FY 2017)[4][5]
Annual budget$899,138,527 (FY 2017)[4]
Agency executives
Parent departmentDepartment of Transportation


In 1964 and 1966, public pressure grew in the United States to increase the safety of cars, culminating with the publishing of Unsafe at Any Speed, by Ralph Nader, an activist lawyer, and "Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society" by the National Academy of Sciences.

In 1966, Congress held a series of publicized hearings regarding highway safety, passed legislation to make installation of seat belts mandatory, and enacted Pub.L. 89–563, Pub.L. 89–564, and Pub.L. 89–670 which created the U.S. Department of Transportation on October 15, 1966. This legislation created several predecessor agencies which would eventually become NHTSA, including the National Traffic Safety Agency, the National Highway Safety Agency, and the National Highway Safety Bureau. Once the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) came into effect, vehicles not certified by the maker or importer as compliant with US safety standards were no longer legal to import into the United States.

Congress established the NHTSA in 1970 with the Highway Safety Act of 1970 (Title II of Pub.L. 91–605, 84 Stat. 1713, enacted December 31, 1970, at 84 Stat. 1739). In 1972, the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act (Pub.L. 92–513, 86 Stat. 947, enacted October 20, 1972) expanded NHTSA's scope to include consumer information programs. Since then, automobiles have become far better in protecting their occupants in vehicle impacts. The number of deaths on American highways hovers around 33,000 annually,[10] a lower death rate per vehicle-mile traveled than in the 1960s.

NHTSA has conducted numerous high-profile investigations of automotive safety issues, including the Audi 5000/60 Minutes affair, the Ford Explorer rollover problem and the Toyota: Sticky accelerator pedal problem. The agency has introduced a proposal to mandate Electronic Stability Control on all passenger vehicles by the 2012 model year. This technology was first brought to public attention in 1997, with the Swedish moose test.


In 1958, under the auspices of the United Nations, a consortium called the Economic Commission for Europe had been established to commonize vehicle regulations across Europe so as to standardize best practices in vehicle design and equipment and minimize technical barriers to pan-European vehicle trade and traffic. This eventually became the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, which began to promulgate what would eventually become the UN's ECE Regulations on vehicle design, construction, and safety performance. Many of the world's countries accept or require similar standards to the U.S. or ECE compliant vehicles. The U.S blocks the importation of vehicles that do not meet the higher U.S. standards, including those built to ECE Regulations.[11]

Because of the unavailability in America of certain vehicle models, a gray market arose in the late 1970s. This provided an alternate, legal method to acquire vehicles only sold overseas. The success of the gray market, however, ate into the business of Mercedes-Benz of North America Inc., which launched a successful congressional lobbying effort to eliminate this alternative for consumers in 1988, despite the lack of any evidence suggesting grey-market vehicles were less safe than those built to comply with U.S. regulations.[12] As a result, it is no longer possible to import foreign vehicles into the United States as a personal import, with few exceptions—primarily Canadian cars with safety regulations substantially similar to the United States, and vehicles imported temporarily for display or research purposes. In practice the gray market involved a few thousand luxury cars annually, before its virtual elimination in 1988.[13]

In 1998, NHTSA exempted vehicles older than 25 years from the rules it administers, since these are presumed to be collector vehicles.[11] In 1999, certain very low production volume specialist vehicles were also exempt for "Show and Display" purposes. However, the ban on newer vehicles considered safe in countries with lower vehicle-related death rates has led some to claim that the main effect of NHTSA's regulatory activity is to protect the U.S. market for a modified oligopoly consisting of the three U.S.-based automakers and the American operations of foreign-brand producers. It has been suggested[14] that the impetus for NHTSA's seeming preoccupation with market control rather than vehicular safety performance is a result of overt market protections such as tariffs and local-content laws having become politically unpopular due to the increasing popularity of free trade. This has driven U.S. industry to adopt less visible forms of trade restrictions in the form of technical regulations different but demonstrably not superior to those outside the United States.

An example of the market-control effects of NHTSA's regulatory protocol is found in the agency's 1974 banning of the Citroën SM automobile, which contemporary journalists noted was one of the safest vehicles available at the time. NHTSA disapproved the SM due to its high-performance, low-glare, steerable headlamps which were not of the outmoded sealed beam design mandatory in the U.S., and its height adjustable suspension, which made compliance with the 1973 bumper requirements impossible; the bumper regulation was intended to control the costs resulting from low speed collisions, not enhance occupant safety.[15]

Regulatory performance

US traffic deaths per VMT, VMT, per capita, and total annual deaths
Annual US traffic fatalities per billion vehicle miles traveled (red), miles traveled (blue), per one million people (orange), total annual deaths (light blue), VMT in 10s of billions (dark blue) and population in millions (teal), from 1921 to 2017

In the mid-1960s when the framework was established for US vehicle safety regulations, the US auto market was an oligopoly, with just three companies (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) controlling 85% of the market.[16]

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are contained in the United States Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Part 571. This is commonly referred to as 49CFR571, with any particular FMVSS appended after a period, as for example 49CFR571.301—the location of FMVSS 301. Additional federal vehicle standards are contained elsewhere in the CFR. For instance, 49CFR564 contains the specifications and requirements for the various types of replaceable headlamp "light source" (bulb). FMVSS 209 was the first standard to become effective on March 1, 1967.

A system of auto safety performance and equipment regulations (ECE Regulations) has been in place in Europe since 1958. Many countries have since been adopted regulations similar to those of the U.S. or ECE. Vehicles sold in the U.S. are required to meet higher U.S. standards.

The North American auto market includes most of the world's major automakers and is the world's most profitable for automakers. American vehicle equipment and construction regulations are based on the rigorous Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) standards.

In a 2004 book by former General Motors safety researcher Leonard Evans, government data (FARS for the U.S.) showed other countries having achieved safety performance levels over time comparative to those achieved by the United States:

Country 1979 Fatalities 2002 Fatalities Percent Change
United States 51,093 42,815 −16.2%
Great Britain 6,352 3,431 −46.0%
Canada 5,863 2,936 −49.9%
Australia 3,508 1,715 −51.1%

Research on the trends in use of heavy vehicles indicate that a significant difference between the U.S. and other countries is the relatively high prevalence of pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S. A 2003 study by the U.S. Transportation Research Board found that SUVs and pickup trucks are significantly less safe than passenger cars.[17] Comparisons of past data with the present in the U.S. can result in distortions, due to a significant population increase and since the level of large commercial truck traffic has substantially increased from the 1960s while highway capacity has not kept pace with the increase in large commercial truck traffic on U.S. highways.[18][19] However, other factors exert significant influence; Canada has lower roadway death and injury rates despite a vehicle mix comparable to that of the U.S.[20] Nevertheless, the widespread use of truck-based vehicles as passenger carriers is correlated with roadway deaths and injuries not only directly by dint of vehicular safety performance per se, but also indirectly through the relatively low fuel costs that facilitate the use of such vehicles in North America. Motor vehicle fatalities decline as gasoline prices increase.[21] NHTSA has issued few regulations in the past 25 years. Most of the reduction in vehicle fatality rates during the last third of the 20th century were gained from the initial NHTSA safety standards during 1968–1984 and subsequent voluntary changes in vehicle crashworthiness by vehicle manufacturers.[22]

Development of Drunk Driving Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST)

NHTSA created a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) training curriculum to prepare police officers and other qualified persons to conduct the SFST’s for use in DWI investigations. This training was developed in combination with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), and has experienced remarkable success since its inception in the early 1980s.

Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS)

NHTSA, along with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Justice (both part of the Department of Justice) has a long history of actively promoting the use of traffic stops by local police to combat crime and search for drugs. [23] [24] This approach is controversial and has, in the past, been accused of encouraging racial profiling of motorists. [25]

Cost–benefit requirements

Since the 1980s, NHTSA began using required cost–benefit analysis for every safety device, system, or design feature mandated for installation on vehicles.[26] That is, the device, system, or design feature may not be mandated unless it will save more money (in property damage, health care, etc.) than it costs, or must cost no more than a specified amount of money per life saved. Requirements are balanced through estimated costs and estimated benefits to justify or reject regulation; FMVSS #208 effectively mandates the installation of frontal airbags in all new vehicles in the United States, for it is written such that no other technology can meet the stipulated requirements.[27] It has been argued that even using conservative cost figures and optimistic benefit figures, airbags' cost–benefit ratio so extreme that it may fall outside of the cost–benefit requirements for mandatory safety devices.[28][29] Cost–benefit requirements have been used as the basis for lighting-related regulation in the U.S; for example, while many countries in the world since at least the early 1970s have required rear turn signals to emit amber light so they might be distinguished from adjacent red brake lamps, U.S. regulations permit rear turn signals to emit red light on grounds of cost-effectiveness and reasonableness,[30][31][32] while NHTSA research showed amber rear turn signals may provide additional crash-avoidance benefit, NHTSA opted to require the center high mounted 3rd brake light to achieve safety goals.[33][34]

Vehicle manufacturers face considerable expense to certify a vehicle for U.S. sale, where they make considerable profits. Automotive News cited a 2013 model vehicle where this modification cost US$ 42 million. This cost is separate from costs incurred in other markets around the world. UNECE looks at the costs of Automobile safety standards in other markets around the world.[35]

Fuel economy

CAFE Regulations

NHTSA also administers the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE), which is intended to incentivize the production of fuel-efficient vehicles by dint of fuel economy requirements measured against the sales-weighted harmonic average of each manufacturer's range of vehicles. Many governments outside North America regulate fuel economy by heavily taxing motor fuel and/or by including a vehicle's engine size or fuel economy in calculating vehicle registration taxes (road tax). It is argued that such regulations are not politically feasible, and that doing so would hurt the struggling U.S. auto industry.[36][37][38] Another putative problem with CAFE is that fuel economy is negatively correlated to vehicle weight—lighter vehicles giving better fuel economy—while vehicle weight is positively correlated to safety—larger and heavier vehicles better protect their occupants.[39] Thus, NHTSA must accomplish two potentially contradictory regulatory goals at the same time. However, Transportation Research Board studies show safety disparities may exist among vehicles of differing price, country of origin, and quality not just among vehicles of different size and weight alone.[40] Some other researchers dispute the incompatibility of reduction in vehicle weight and increased fuel economy.[41]


NHTSA's Summary of Fuel Economy Performance lists manufacturer's Model Year 2014 CAFE:[42]

Domestic Car Imported Car Light Truck
BMW 33.6 35.0 1.4 27.7 28.7 1
Daimler 33.7 31.4 -2.3 27.3 24.5 -2.8
Fiat Chrysler* 32.9 31.1 -1.8 33.8 28.0 -5.8 26.5 26.0 -0.5
Ford 34.0 36.6 2.6 34.8 30.9 -3.9 25.2 24.8 -0.4
GM 33.9 34.4 0.5 37.1 40.9 3.8 24.4 25.1 0.7
Honda 33.8 39.2 5.4 34.2 42.0 7.8 27.5 29.6 2.1
Hyundai 34.4 37.3 2.9 28.7 27.5 -1.2
Jaguar Land Rover 32.3 27.0 -5.3 27.1 24.8 -2.3
Kia 34.4 32.1 -2.3 27.8 26.9 -0.9
Lotus 36.0 26.7 -9.3
Mazda 34.5 42.3 7.8 31.4 28.8 -2.6
Mitsubishi 36.3 39.8 3.5 30.1 34.4 4.3
Nissan 34.7 41.9 7.2 34.2 33.1 -1.1 27.3 27.7 0.4
Subaru 35.5 37.0 1.5 29.8 34.5 4.7
Tesla 32.1 276.7 244.6
Toyota 34.4 39.1 4.7 34.9 42.9 8 26.7 25.8 -0.9
Volvo 33.6 30.5 -3.1 28.2 26.1 -2.1
VW* 33.6 37.7 4.1 34.9 34.1 -0.8 27.9 28.6 0.7

* Subject to revision due to alleged diesel engines emissions violations.

Aerodynamics brings change to NHTSA

Automakers faced an inherent conflict between NHTSA's stringent headlight legislation, which mandated unaerodynamic sealed-beam headlights, and the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard, which effectively mandated that automakers develop ways to improve the ability of the car to cleave the air. As a result, in the early 1980s, automakers lobbied for a modification of the mandate for fixed shape sealed-beam headlamps.

NHTSA adopted Ford's proposal for low-cost aerodynamic headlamps with polycarbonate lenses and transverse-filament bulbs. The minimum allowed performance and materials durability requirements of this new headlamp system are lower than those of the previous sealed beam system.

For the 1984 model year, Ford introduced the Lincoln Mark VII, the first car since 1939 to be sold in the U.S. market with architectural headlamps as part of its aerodynamic design. These composite headlamps, when new to the American market, were commonly but improperly referred to as "Euro" headlamps, since aerodynamic headlamps were already common in Europe. Though conceptually similar to European headlamps with nonstandardized shape and replaceable-bulb construction, these headlamps conform to the SAE headlamp design standards contained in U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108, and not to the international safety standards used worldwide outside North America.


Consumer information label for a vehicle with NCAP rating

In 1979, NHTSA created the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) in response to Title II of the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act of 1972, to encourage manufacturers to build safer vehicles and consumers to buy them. Since that time, the agency has improved the program by adding rating programs, facilitating access to test results, and revising the format of the information to make it easier for consumers to understand.[43] NHTSA asserts the program has influenced manufacturers to build vehicles that consistently achieve high ratings.[43]

The first standardized 35 mph front crash test was May 21, 1979, and the first results were released October 15 that year.

The agency established a frontal impact test protocol based on Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208 ("Occupant Crash Protection"), except that the frontal 4 NCAP test is conducted at 35 mph (56 km/h), rather than 30 mph (48 km/h) as required by FMVSS No. 208.

More recently, in an effort to improve the dissemination of NCAP ratings and as a result of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU) the agency has issued a Final Rule requiring manufacturers to place NCAP star ratings on the Monroney sticker (automobile price sticker). The rule has a September 1, 2007 compliance date.[44]


NHTSA Funding Overview 2006
NHTSA's 2006 budget distribution[45]

The agency has an annual budget of $815 million (2007). The agency classifies most of its spending under the driver safety heading, with a minority spent on vehicle safety, and a smaller amount on environmental matters of which it is in charge, i.e., vehicular fuel economy.

See also


  1. ^ "Who We Are and What We Do". National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  2. ^ "National Highway Traffic Safety Administration". International Trade Data System. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  3. ^ "THIS IS NHTSA" (PDF). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Budget Estimates, Fiscal Year 2018". National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. United States Department of Transportation.
  5. ^ "Budget Estimates Fiscal Year 2016 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration" (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  6. ^ a b (27 July 2017). "NHTSA Leadership". NHTSA.
  7. ^ Calmes, Jackie (5 April 2014). "Minding the Minders of G.M." – via
  8. ^ "Home | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) | U.S. Department of Transportation". Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  9. ^ a b Wochinger, Kathryn; Compton, Richard; Berning, Amy (2015). Results of the 2013–2014 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers (US Traffic Safety Facts Research Note, Report No. DOT HS No 812 118). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. p. 575. Retrieved 5 December 2018.
  10. ^ "NHTSA Budget Highlights FY2015" (PDF). NHTSA. 2014.
  11. ^ a b "What you need to know to avoid seeing your grey market car get crushed". Digital Trends. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  12. ^ "How To: Win the Car-Importing Game". Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  13. ^ "Car Show Classic: 1985 Citroen CX 25 GTi Series 2 – Blue Is A Warmer Color Than Grey". Curbside Classic. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  14. ^ M. E. Wenners; J. M. Frusti; J. S. Ninomiya (1998). "Global Regulatory Harmonization—One American Manufacturer's Perspective". Ref # 982266. Society of Automotive Engineers.
  15. ^ "Top 5: Citroen SM innovations that saw the future video - CNET". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Carpe Diem". Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  17. ^ Wenzel, T.; Ross, M. (2003). "Are SUVs Safer than Cars? An Analysis of Risk by Vehicle Type and Model" (PDF). Transportation Research Board. Retrieved 2008-03-09.
  18. ^ Federal Highway Administration (2006). "Chapter 14 Freight Transportation". United States Department of Transportation.
  19. ^ L.S. Robertson (2006). "Motor Vehicle Deaths: Failed Policy Analysis and Neglected Policy". Journal of Public Health Policy. 27 (2): 182–189. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jphp.3200074.
  20. ^ Evans, Leonard (2004). Traffic Safety. Science Serving Society. ISBN 978-0-9754871-0-5.
  21. ^ D.C. Grabowski; M.A. Morrissey (2004). "Gasoline Prices and Motor Vehicle Fatalities". Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 23 (3): 575–593. doi:10.1002/pam.20028.
  22. ^ L. S. Robertson (2007). Injury Epidemiology (Third ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 186–194. ISBN 978-0-19-506956-3.
  23. ^ "Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS) - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)".
  24. ^ "Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety". National Institute of Justice.
  25. ^ Kocieniewski, David (29 November 2000). "New Jersey Argues That the U.S. Wrote the Book on Race Profiling" – via
  26. ^ Viscusi, Kip Regulatory Economics in the Courts: an Analysis of Judge Scalia's NHTSA Bumper Decision Law and Contemporary Problems volume 50 issue 4 1988 Retrieved July 29, 2015
  27. ^ 49CFR571.208
  28. ^ "John Graham Releases Results of Cost–Benefit Analysis of Air Bag Safety". 1997-03-25. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  29. ^ Thompson, Kimberly M.; Segui-Gomez, Maria; Graham, John D. (2002-10-03). "Risk Analysis, Volume 22 Issue 4 Page 803-811, August 2002". Risk Analysis. 22 (4): 803–811. doi:10.1111/0272-4332.00070.
  30. ^ Automotive Lighting in North America, Driving Vision News, 2011
  31. ^ Hitzemeyer, E.G.; Wilde, H.; Ellenburger, D (1977). "What Color Should Rear Turn Signals Be?" (paper). Society of Automotive Engineers.
  32. ^ D'orleans, G. (1997). "World Harmonization and Procedures for Lighting and Signaling Products" (paper). Society of Automotive Engineers.
  33. ^ "The Influence of Rear Turn Signal Characteristics on Crash Risk" (PDF). (527 KB)
  34. ^ Allen, Kirk (2009). "The Effectiveness of Amber Rear Turn Signals for Reducing Rear Impacts, DOT HS 811 115" (PDF). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  35. ^ Beene, Ryan (July 25, 2015). "Wiping out U.S.-EU rules disparities would yield big savings". Automotive News. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  36. ^ Knollenberg, Joe. "". Archived from the original (Website) on October 5, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2007.
  37. ^ Benton, Joe. "GM Exec Slams Higher Mileage Standards". Consumer Affairs. Archived from the original (Website) on October 5, 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2007.
  38. ^ "Automakers cool to Bush plans to cut gas consumption" (Website). Channel NewsAsia. 24 January 2007. Retrieved October 4, 2007.
  39. ^ Kahane, Charles (October 2003). "Vehicle Weight, Fatality Risk and Crash Compatibility of Model Year 1991–99 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks" (PDF). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
  40. ^ Wenzel, Tom; Ross, Marc (2003-01-15). "Are SUVs Safer than Cars? An Analysis of Risk by Vehicle Type and Model" (PDF). Transportation Research Board: 17–21. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  41. ^ Robertson, Leon S. (2006). "Blood and Oil: Vehicle Characteristics in Relation to Fatality Risk and Fuel Economy". American Journal of Public Health. 96 (11): 1906–1909. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2005.084061. PMC 1751827.
  42. ^ CAFE December 2014. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. Accessed October 2015.
  43. ^ a b "The New Car Assessment Program Suggested Approaches for Future Program Enhancements" (PDF). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. January 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  44. ^ U.S. NCAP enhancements for 2007 Archived September 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  45. ^ NHTSA. "NHTSA Budget Overview FY 2006" (PDF). p. 4. Retrieved 2007-06-19.


Further reading

External links

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of Transportation.

Aggressive driving

Aggressive driving is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as the behaviour of an individual who "commits a combination of moving traffic offences so as to endanger other persons or property."

Australian Design Rules

The Australian Design Rules (ADRs) are Australia's national technical standards for vehicle safety, theft resistance, and emissions. They are largely based on and actively harmonised with the "ECE" regulations promulgated by the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, though some of the technical prescriptions of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations are accepted despite differing from the ECE prescriptions.

The ADRs use only the technical requirements of the ECE Regulations; the ECE system of type approval is not used. Instead, the ADRs are administered according to a self-certification system like that of the United States—manufacturers do not seek government-sanctioned testing or homologation; rather, they certify that their vehicles and regulated vehicle components comply with all applicable provisions of all applicable ADRs in effect on the date of manufacture. On vehicles, this certification is made by dint of the manufacturer affixing a "compliance plate" stating the vehicle's specifications and parameters, build date, identification number, and other required information along with a statement to the effect that the vehicle complies with all applicable ADRs.

Vehicles manufactured for sale in countries other than Australia are generally barred from import to Australia unless they are brought into compliance with applicable ADRs and the conversion work is inspected and certified by an authorised compliance engineer.

According to Tristan Edis, climate reporter for Business Spectator, Australia's emissions standards specified in the ADRs lag behind most developed countries, and Australia is one of only a few major economies without fuel economy standards applying to cars.

Center for Auto Safety

The Center for Auto Safety is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) consumer advocacy non-profit group focused on the United States automotive industry. Founded in 1970 by Consumers Union and Ralph Nader, the group focuses its efforts on enacting reform though public advocacy and pressuring the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and automakers through litigation. For decades, it was led by Executive Director Clarence Ditlow, who died in late 2016 from cancer. Ditlow was widely admired in the auto safety community,although he also had detractors among auto manufacturers. The Center for Auto Safety is currently led by Executive Director Jason Levine.

Corporate average fuel economy

The Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards are regulations in the United States, first enacted by the United States Congress in 1975, after the 1973–74 Arab Oil Embargo, to improve the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks (trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles) produced for sale in the United States. They are set by the Secretary of Transportation, currently Elaine Chao, via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

NHTSA spends one-third of one percent of its budget on CAFE, or $0.014 per U.S. citizen.


The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) is a European car safety performance assessment programme (i.e. a New Car Assessment Program) based in Brussels (Belgium) and founded in 1997 by the Transport Research Laboratory for the UK Department for Transport and backed by several European governments, as well as by the European Union. Their slogan is "For Safer Cars".

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 108 (FMVSS 108) regulates all automotive lighting, signalling and reflective devices in the United States. Like all other Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, FMVSS 108 is administered by the United States Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Heidi King

Heidi King (born December 21, 1964) is the Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Hurt Report

The Hurt Report was a motorcycle safety study conducted in the United States, initiated in 1976 and published in 1981. The report is named after its primary author, Professor Harry Hurt.

Noted motorcycle journalist David L. Hough described the Hurt Report as "the most comprehensive motorcycle safety study of the 20th century."The study was initiated by the Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which contracted with the University of Southern California Traffic Safety Center — the work was ultimately conducted by USC professor Harry Hurt.The Hurt Report findings significantly advanced the state of knowledge of the causes of motorcycle accidents, in particular pointing out the widespread problem of car drivers failing to see an approaching motorcycle and precipitating a crash by violating the motorcyclist's right-of-way. The study also provided data clearly showing that helmets significantly reduce deaths and brain injuries without any increased risk of accident involvement or neck injury. The full title of the report was Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, Volume 1: Technical Report.

After retiring from USC in 1998, Hurt established and headed the Head Protection Research Laboratory (HPRL), of Paramount, CA.

ISIRI 7076

ISIRI 7076 is a standard published by the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI) in 2004 based on ISO 9129. It defines "Motorcycles-Measurement method for moment of inertia".Other sources that were used in this standard are as follows:

ISO 3779: 1983 Road Vehicles – vehicle identification number (VIN)– Content and Structure.

49 CFR Part 572, subpart B [Code of Federal Regulation, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)]

ISIRI 7078

ISIRI 7078 is a standard published by the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran (ISIRI) in 2004 based on ISO 9130. It defines "Motorcycles-Measurement method for location of centre of gravity".Other sources that were used in this standard are as follows:

ISO 3779: 1983 Road Vehicles – vehicle identification number (VIN)– Content and Structure.

49 CFR Part 572, subpart B [Code of Federal Regulation, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)]

Joan Claybrook

Joan Claybrook (born June 12, 1937) is an American lawyer and lobbyist who was president of Public Citizen from 1982 to 2008. She also served in the Carter administration as head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 1977 to 1981.

Motorcycling advocacy

Motorcycling advocacy (colloquially "bikers' rights" in the US) generally refers to the belief in legal rights of motorcyclists, either as citizens or as motorists, or as motorcyclists per se, and to the efforts made to promote or defend those rights.

Advocacy is carried out by individuals and organizations. One issue often in dispute is mandatory helmet laws. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, part of the Department of Transportation) has been the main federal government agency active in the debate over motorcycle rights for such things as off-road riding, vehicle requirements and helmets in the United States.

National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act

The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Pub.L. 89–563) was enacted in the United States in 1966 to empower the federal government to set and administer new safety standards for motor vehicles and road traffic safety. The Act was the first law to establish mandatory federal safety standards for motor vehicles. The Act created the National Highway Safety Bureau (now National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). The Act was one of a few initiatives by the government in response to a increasing number of cars and associated fatalities and injuries on the road following a period when the number of people killed on the road had increased 6-fold and the number of vehicles was up 11-fold since 1925.The reduction of the rate of death attributable to motor vehicle crashes in the United States represents the successful public health response to a great technological advance of the 20th century—the motorization of America.Many changes in both vehicle and highway design followed this mandate. Vehicles (agent of injury) were built with new safety features, including head rests, energy-absorbing steering wheels, shatter-resistant windshields, and safety belts Roads (environment) were improved by better delineation of curves (edge and center line stripes and reflectors), use of breakaway sign and utility poles, improved illumination, addition of barriers separating oncoming traffic lanes, and guardrails.

The results were rapid. By 1970, motor-vehicle-related death rates were decreasing by both the public health measure (deaths per 100,000 population) and the traffic safety indicator (deaths per VMT).Changes in driver and passenger (host) behavior also have reduced motor-vehicle crashes and injuries. Enactment and enforcement of traffic safety laws, reinforced by public education, have led to safer behavior choices. Examples include enforcement of laws against driving while intoxicated (DWI) and underage drinking, and enforcement of seat belt, child safety seat, and motorcycle helmet use laws.Government and community recognition of the need for motor-vehicle safety prompted initiation of programs by federal and state governments, academic institutions, community-based organizations, and industry. NHTSA and the Federal Highway Administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation have provided national leadership for traffic and highway safety efforts since the 1960s. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, established at CDC in 1992, has contributed public health direction. State and local governments have enacted and enforced laws that affect motor-vehicle and highway safety, driver licensing and testing, vehicle inspections, and traffic regulations. Preventing motor-vehicle-related injuries has required collaboration among many professional disciplines (such as biomechanics has been essential to vehicle design and highway safety features). Citizen and community-based advocacy groups have played important prevention roles in areas such as drinking and driving and child-occupant protection. Consistent with the public/private partnerships that characterize motor-vehicle safety efforts, NHTSA sponsors "Buckle Up America" week, which focuses on the need to secure children in child-safety seats properly at all times.[1]

Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways

California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH) is a collaboration between the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), UC Berkeley, other public and private academic institutions, and private industry. PATH's mission: applying advanced technology to increase highway capacity and safety, and to reduce traffic congestion, air pollution, and energy consumption. The organization recently celebrated its twentieth year.

Caltrans provides a portion of PATH funding; the remaining funding comes from the United States Department of Transportation, other state and local agencies, and private industry. PATH supports the research of nearly 50 faculty members and 90 graduate students.

Alexander Skabardonis, Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, is the PATH Director.

As a collaborative organization, PATH has had many partners, including public agencies, universities, and private companies. Partners include the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans); the Federal Highway Administration; the Federal Transit Administration; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the Metropolitan Transportation Commission; the California Highway Patrol; the University of California, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, and Riverside; Claremont Graduate University; University of Southern California; George Mason University; Virginia Tech; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Honda; Toyota; SRI International Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Honeywell; General Motors; DaimlerChrysler; and the Ford Motor Company. It is administered by the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley, and housed at UC Berkeley's Richmond Field Station.


A rollover is a type of vehicle crash in which a vehicle tips over onto its side or roof. Rollovers have a higher fatality rate than other types of vehicle collisions.

Show or Display

The "Show or Display" rule is a statutory amendment to the United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) that allows certain privately imported automobiles to be exempted, if the vehicle in question is deemed to meet a standard of "historical or technological significance".

The amendment, which became law on August 13, 1999, is intended to apply to vehicles that could not feasibly be brought into compliance with the FMVSS, including requirements for destructive testing – and that do not have a similar make or model certified for sale in the United States market. Applications are managed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and may allow limited use on public roads (2,500 miles annually).Because of the expense and effort required to import a vehicle with this exemption, the approved vehicle list is mainly limited to high-value sports and touring cars.

Slim jim (lock pick)

A slim jim (more technically known as a lockout tool) is a thin strip of metal (usually spring steel) roughly 60 centimetres (24 in) long and about 2–4 centimetres (0.79–1.57 in) wide originally marketed under that name by HPC Inc., a manufacturer and supplier of specialty locksmithing tools. Slim Jims are used to unlock automobile doors without use of a key or lock pick. It acts directly on the levers and interconnecting rods that operate the door, completely avoiding the complexity of dealing with the lock mechanism itself. The hooked end of the tool is slipped between a car's window and the rubber seal, catching the rods that connect to the lock mechanism. With careful manipulation, the door can be opened.Unskilled use of the tool will often detach the lock rods, leaving the lock inoperable even with the key. This is often a clue that someone has attempted to break into a car. Newer cars have also incorporated internal defenses against this tool such as barrier blocks on the bottom of the window, preventing entry, and also shrouding the operating rods and the lock cylinder to prevent manipulation of internal linkages.

There have been unsubstantiated claims that in modern vehicles there is a chance for setting off the side airbag deployment system of the vehicle, possibly causing injury to a person using a slim jim. However, according to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this has not been verified and manufacturers state it is impossible. An episode of MythBusters showed experimenters that were also unable to deploy an airbag with a slim jim.

Star of Life

The Star of Life is a blue, six-pointed star, outlined with a white border and usually featuring the Rod of Asclepius in the center. The symbol was originally designed and governed by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Transportation, DOT). It has become a symbol of the emergency medical services in multiple countries.

Uniform Tire Quality Grading

Uniform Tire Quality Grading, commonly abbreviated as UTQG, is the term encompassing a set of standards for passenger car tires that measures a tire's treadwear, temperature resistance and traction. The UTQG was created by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1978, a branch of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT). All tires manufactured for sale in the United States since March 31, 1979 are federally mandated to have the UTQG ratings on their sidewall as part of the DOT approval process, in which non-DOT approved tires are not legal for street use in the United States. It is not to be confused with the tire code, a supplemental and global standard measuring tire dimensions, load-bearing ability and maximum speed, maintained by tire industry trade organizations and the International Organization for Standardization.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) established the Uniform Tire Quality Grading Standards (UTQGS) in 49 CFR 575.104. When looking at UTQG ratings it is important to realize that the Department of Transportation does not conduct the tests. The grades are assigned by the tire manufacturers based on their test results or those conducted by an independent testing company they have hired. The NHTSA has the right to inspect the tire manufacturer's data and can fine them if inconsistencies are found. Dedicated winter tires, also known as snow tires, are not required to have a UTQG rating. Non-passenger car tires, such as those for motorcycles, buses, medium trucks and above along with trailers are also not required to have a UTQG rating, although FMVSS Standard 109 requires the following to be listed on the tire's sidewall: speed restriction if less than 55 mph, regroovable if designed for regrooving, and a letter designating load range rating.

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