REGNET SOLUTIONS: USA RESEARCH NOTES

Last Updated: 29 January 2020

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Overview

Which agencies are charged with regulating the safe construction of vehicles in the USA?

What is the Type Approval process?

Does the USA regulate Autonomous Vehicles? What is the current state of AV regulations?

What is the current status of Electric Vehicles and Fuel Cell Vehicles? Are there incentives or compliance timelines to move to EVs?



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Overview

This document has been designed to help our regulatory compliance customers navigate US Federal regulations. RegNet Focus includes coverage of US Federal Motor Vehicle Standards (FMVSS), their associated test procedures by the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance (OVSC), emissions, and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and regulations regarding unlicensed transmissions (namely, Title 47, Part 15).



Which agencies are charged with regulating the safe construction of vehicles in the USA?

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), an agency within the Department of Transportation, issues and enforces FMVSS. NHTSA also issues guidelines, clarifies -through interpretations – FMVSS definitions, and manages the rulemaking process.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates emissions at the federal level.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates radio frequency use and other communications.



What is the Type Approval process?

The USA does not have a type approval process, instead relying on self-certification by manufacturers in accordance with FMVSS. NHTSA does not certify vehicles and does not issue type approval certification.



Does the USA regulate Autonomous Vehicles? What is the current state of AV regulations?

At the federal congressional level, no law has been enacted regulating autonomous vehicles. Two bills have been passed, H.R. 3888 SELF Drive in the House of Representatives, and the S. 1885 Senate AV START Act. At the agency level, NHTSA has issued several requests for comment, but has not issued a standard.

Individual states traditionally regulate local traffic laws, licensing and operation of vehicles, and insurance matters. According to the Congressional Research Service report, Issues in Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Deployment, issued in November 2019, 41 states have put in place either executive orders, legislation, or both.



Source: Congressional Research Service report, Issues in Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Deployment



State concerns regarding federal legislation include:



Additionally, some states (e.g. California’s CCPA) are enacting data privacy laws which may impact AV development.



What is the current status of Electric Vehicles and Fuel Cell Vehicles? Are there incentives or compliance timelines to move to EVs?

In order to support the advancement of electric vehicles, the Federal government has established tax credits of up to $7,500 per vehicle, depending on battery size. The credits are subject to a per manufacturer limit. For further reading, the Congressional Research Service has provided a detailed description of The Plug-In Electric Vehicle Tax Credit.