As provided by National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Clean Air Act, Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act, Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act, and Americans with Disabilities Act, all motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment prior to entering the U.S. market shall meet regulations and other related provisions established by the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding motor vehicle safety, pollutant emissions and fuel economy, and get certified or approved from such administrations.
That means motor vehicle manufacturers may be unable to import automotive products or parts into the U.S. and sell due to failure to meet DOT’s or EPA’s technical regulations and regulatory requirements, in addition, non-compliant vehicles or equipment that have entered the market or operated in service would suffer the risk of civil penalties. Currently, those penalties can be as high as $21,000 for each violation with a maximum civil penalty of $105,000,000 for a related series of violations. For example, the failure of a manufacturer to furnish notification of a noncompliance or defect to owners or to NHTSA may subject the fabricating manufacturer to substantial civil penalties. The penalties can be changed if the acts are updated.
At present, DOT implements the manufacturer's self-certification mode for the safety certification of motor vehicles, that is, the manufacturer could self-verify the compliance of the product with the safety regulations (principally Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, known as FMVSS) after the necessary registration and submittal of documents in DOT, and pastes the certification label to indicate full compliance. However, in the environmental protection aspect, EPA still requires type certification as in most other countries, that is, the registration information and test data from recognized labs shall be submitted in accordance with the prescribed certification procedures, and the conformity certificates are issued after the official review and verification. In addition, due to the special geographical location and historical circumstances of California, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has separately established stricter exhaust emission regulations than federal EPA and its own certification procedures, as authorized by the Clean Air Act. Therefore, it requires automotive makers also take California emission regulations into account.
In addition to mandatory federal and state regulations, automakers often need to consider compliance with requirements from industry bodies or third-party associations, such as American Society of Motor Vehicle Engineers (SAE), American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and the American Highway Safety Insurance Association (IIHS) as appropriate.
With a team of experienced vehicle certification experts and an American consulting team with more than 20 years of experience in North American motor vehicle certification, ATIC offers full range of technical services such as regulations interpretation, certification procedure assistance, registration and reporting, test plans, mentoring and witnessing testing throughout the whole certification process, allowing you to quickly enter the North American market with lower risk.
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Foreign manufacture shall designate a Permanent Resident of the United States as its Agent for Service of Process to ensure that NHTSA is able to serve the manufacturer’s agent with administrative or judicial notice or process.
ATIC will support the manufacture submit designation information, identifying information and a description of the products. Any changes of the manufacturer's information need to be re-registered within 30 days to ensure that the registration information is timely, accurate and complete.
ATIC will support the manufacture make a testing plan according to FMVSS, SAE, etc. standards and conduct testing or witness testing in manufacture or 3rd party lab, make sure all testing and reporting process comply with relevant acts and standards.
ATIC support manufacture to inscribe certification mark or label on the equipment or vehicle in a prescribed location. Manufacture shall ensure mass production are fully compliant with federal regulations and keep quality records, test reports, registration records, etc. as required for at least 5 years.
Other Key Points
▸ Safety Certification of Motor Vehicle (DOT)
▸ EPA/CARB Certification
▸ Classification and Scope of Safety Certification
▸ Agent and DOT Registration
▸ Safety Certification Label of Motor Vehicle
The US Motor Vehicle Safety Certification Authority is the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), whose subordinate departments include Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Maritime Administration (MARAD), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Office of the Attorney General (OST), etc.
The National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US government agency responsible for implementing and implementing the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and other laws related to motor vehicle safety. Under this authority, NHTSA publishes and enforces the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) for motor vehicles and specific motor vehicle components. Execution regulations are listed in Article 49 of the CFR, Sections 500-599
The purpose of the US Vehicle Safety Act is to reduce traffic accidents and deaths and injuries caused by traffic accidents. The Vehicle Safety Act requires that each FMVSS regulation must be enforceable, meet the safety requirements of the motor vehicle, and must be stated in objective terms.
On February 3, 1967, NHTSA issued final regulations to establish the first version of FMVSS.
The implementation of automobile emission regulations in the United States is different from the implementation of safety regulations. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implements EPA certification under the authority of the Clean Air Act. Automobiles and motorcycles exported to the United States must pass EPA certification.
EPA certification scope covers Diesel / Gasoline Engine Equipment, Retail Automotive Parts, Gas / Water Treatment Equipment, Drinking Water, Pesticides, etc.
For vehicles entering the California market, CARB certification is required, and the corresponding regulations are developed and implemented by the California Air Resources Board, which controls vehicle emissions to a stricter level than US federal regulations.
Motor vehicles are defined by statute as vehicles that are driven or drawn by mechanical power and manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads, or highways.
In regulating the manufacture of motor vehicles, NHTSA has established the type classifications as Passenger Cars, Multi-Purpose Passenger Vehicle (MPVs), Trucks, Bus, Motorcycles, Trailer, Low-speed Vehicle, and Pole Trailer.
Vehicles such as race cars, dirt bikes, or all-terrain vehicles that are not primarily manufactured for on-road use do not qualify as motor vehicles and are therefore not regulated by NHTSA. Instead, such vehicles may be regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Motor Vehicle Equipment The Vehicle Safety Act defines motor vehicle equipment as:
Any system, part, or component of a motor vehicle as originally manufactured;
Any similar part or component manufactured or sold for replacement or improvement of a system, part, or component, or as an accessory or addition to a motor vehicle; or
Any device or an article of apparel (except medicine or eyeglasses prescribed by a licensed practitioner) that is not a system, part, or component of a motor vehicle and is manufactured, sold, delivered, offered, or intended to be used only to safeguard motor vehicles and highway users against risk of accident, injury, or death.
According to US Federal Regulation 49 CFR Part 551, all manufacturers, component assemblers or importers of motor vehicles and components are required to designate a permanent resident of the United States as their agent before supplying motor vehicles and components to the United States. This agent can be a US citizen or a US domestic company that will participate in all liaison with DOT during the compliance application process.
ATIC also provides agent service to manufactures who produce superior quality products and intended to commercialize their products in United States.
FMVSS (except tires) applicable motor vehicle manufacturers and auto parts manufacturers must submit confirmations identifying manufacturers and products to NHTSA no later than 30 days from the start of production and within 30 days of any change in business information (49 CFR Part 566Manufacturer Identification), the manufacturer must notify NHTSA and ensure that its registration record is up to date, accurate and complete.
Location of the motor vehicle safety certification label:
In addition to motor vehicles other than trailers and motorcycles, the vehicle certification mark must be fixed at the hinge column near the driver's seat, the door lock column, or the door edge near the door lock column. If these positions are not convenient for fixing the certification label, it can be fixed on the left side of the dashboard, if this position is not easy to fix, the certification label needs to be fixed to the inside door panel near the driver's seat. The certification label must be fixed at a location that is easy to read without removing any vehicle parts except the door.
Label must contain at least the following information:
The manufacturer of the vehicle (ie the actual assembler of the vehicle)
Date of manufacture of the vehicle (month and year)
Rated total mass or GVWR of vehicles and axles
Model classification (eg, MPV, truck) and VIN
▸ Tire Information Label
▸ Duty to Notify NHTSA of a Noncompliance
▸ Duty to Notify Owners and Dealers of a Noncompliance
▸ Record Keeping for Manufacturers
In order to prevent overloading of the tires, the manufacturer is required to install a permanent tire sign at the designated location of the car.
The US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard FMVSS110 has specific requirements for tire selection to prevent overloading of the tires. The FMVSS 110 regulations apply to motor vehicles with a quality of ≤4.5 tons, but not for motorcycles, low-speed vehicles, and incomplete vehicle.
In order to prevent the tire from being overloaded, the manufacturer is required to install a permanent tire sign (Tire Placard) at the designated position of the car. This tire sign needs to provide tire load information to the user, including the number of passengers and the weight of the vehicle.
Notwithstanding its certification of a product, a manufacturer may subsequently determine that a noncompliance with an FMVSS or a safety-related defect exists in a motor vehicle or a motor vehicle equipment item it has produced. Manufacturers have a duty to notify NHTSA if they learn the vehicle or equipment contains a defect and in good faith they decide that the defect is related to motor vehicle safety, or in good faith they decide that the vehicle or equipment does not comply with an applicable FMVSS. The manufacturer must notify NHTSA within five working days after determining the existence of a noncompliance or a safety-related defect. Alternately, NHTSA may determine the existence of a noncompliance or a safety-related defect in a particular motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment item and order the responsible manufacturer to recall the product.
Regardless of whether the noncompliance with an FMVSS or a safety-related defect is determined to exist by the manufacturer or by NHTSA, the manufacturer must provide owners and dealers of the affected products with notification of the noncompliance or defect and must remedy the noncompliance or defect, usually without charge. The notification and remedy process is commonly referred to as a “safety recall campaign” or more simply as a “recall”. NHTSA monitors the remedy program to ensure its successful completion. The agency is not authorized to expend its funds on recalls. The expense of notifying owners and providing a remedy must be borne by the fabricating manufacturer and/or importer of the products found to contain the noncompliance or defect.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations require manufacturers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment to retain claims, complaints, reports, and other records concerning alleged and proven defects and malfunctions that may be related to motor vehicle safety for a period of five calendar years from the date on which they were generated or acquired by the manufacturer.
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