Notice Regarding the Applicability of NHTSA FMVSS Test Procedures to Certifying Manufacturers
The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act (Safety Act) prohibits the sale, manufacture for sale, import or introduction into interstate commerce of a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment, unless fully compliant with all applicable Federal motor vehicle safety standards (FMVSS). The FMVSS set a threshold of performance that a vehicle or equipment item must attain, at a minimum, to meet the need for safety. The Safety Act also requires a manufacturer or distributor of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment to certify that the vehicle or equipment complies with applicable FMVSS. This notice reestablishes NHTSA's longstanding position that the FMVSS test conditions and procedures apply to NHTSA's compliance testing, and that manufacturers are not required to ensure that their vehicles are designed in such a manner as to ensure that the vehicles are capable of being tested pursuant to such standards as a condition of self-certification. This notice also discusses NHTSA's enforcement with respect to vehicles with novel or innovative designs that preclude them from being tested for FMVSS compliance using NHTSA's FMVSS test procedures. This notice supersedes prior contrary statements the Agency has madeincluding those in NHTSA's 2016 letter of interpretation to Google, Inc.stating that manufacturers could not validly certify FMVSS compliance unless NHTSA could verify compliance using the FMVSS test procedures.