Laws & Regulations

Guidance Documents

Overview

NHTSA issues guidance documents that may clarify existing legal obligations to help regulated entities and the public understand the statutes administered by NHTSA and NHTSA's regulations. The term "guidance document" refers to a statement of agency policy or interpretation concerning a statute, regulation, or technical matter within the jurisdiction of an agency that is intended to have general applicability and future effect, but which is not intended to have the force or effect of law in its own right, unless expressly authorized by law or incorporated into a contract. It is NHTSA's policy to issue guidance documents that are consistent with Executive Order 13891, Office of Management and Budget policy, and DOT regulations.

GUIDANCE REQUIREMENTS

  • Executive Order (E.O.) 13891. On October 9, 2019, the President issued E.O. 13891 ("Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents"). The core principle of E.O. 13891 is that guidance documents should only clarify existing obligations; they should not be a vehicle for implementing new, binding requirements on the public.
  • Implementation Memorandum. On October 31, 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued Memorandum M-20-02 providing guidance to agencies implementing E.O. 13891.
  • Good Guidance Bulletin. On January 18, 2007, OMB issued Bulletin M-07-07 ("Good Guidance Bulletin") establishing requirements for the development, issuance, and use of significant guidance documents by Executive Branch departments and agencies. It "is intended to increase the quality and transparency of agency guidance practices and the significant guidance documents produced through them."  While some aspects of this Bulletin are subsumed in or superseded by E.O. 13891, the Good Guidance Bulletin continues to describe best practices agencies follow when issuing guidance.
  • DOT Regulations on Guidance Procedures. DOT has issued regulations at 49 CFR part 5, subpart C implementing procedures for the issuance of guidance for all DOT operating administrations, including NHTSA.

Guidance Documents

Quick Links

Adaptive Vehicles
 

Alcohol Measuring Devices
 

Bicycle Safety
 

Collision Insurance
 

Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety

Distracted Driving
 

Drowsy Driving
 

Emergency Medical Services

Enforcement Guidance Bulletins

FMVSS Test Procedures
 

General Highway Safety
 

Highway Safety Grant Programs

Impaired Driving
 

Legal Interpretations
 

Motorcycle Safety
 

National Center for Statistics and Analysis

New Car Assessment Program

Odometer Fraud
 

Older Drivers
 

Pedestrian Safety
 

School Bus Safety
 

Seat Belt Use
 

Speeding
 

Teen Driving
 

Uniform Guidelines for State Highway Safety...

Vehicle Importation and Certification

Vehicle Safety Recalls
 

Vehicle Safety Research
 

Vehicle Theft Prevention
 

911 System
 

Adaptive Vehicles

Alcohol Measuring Devices

Bicycle Safety

Collision Insurance

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

Distracted Driving

Drowsy Driving

Emergency Medical Services

Enforcement Guidance Bulletins

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Laboratory Test Procedures

  • The laboratory test procedures for all of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards can be found on this website.

General Highway Safety

Highway Safety Grant Programs

Impaired Driving

Legal Interpretations

Motorcycle Safety

National Center for Statistics and Analysis

New Car Assessment Program

Odometer Fraud

Older Drivers

Pedestrian Safety

School Bus Safety

Seat Belt Use

Speeding

Teen Driving

Uniform Guidelines for State Highway Safety Programs

Vehicle Importation and Certification

Vehicle Safety Recalls

Vehicle Safety Research

Vehicle Theft Prevention

911 System

Complaints

PUBLIC COMPLAINTS ABOUT GUIDANCE DOCUMENTS

Pursuant to the OMB Good Guidance Bulletin, we have also designated a specific office to receive and address public complaints that we are not complying with the OMB Good Guidance Bulletin or that we are treating a significant guidance document as a binding requirement. This office will respond promptly and appropriately to any complaints.

If you have concerns about the agency's compliance with the OMB Good Guidance Bulletin, please contact:

Office of the Chief Counsel
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue SE
West Building
Washington, DC 20590
(202) 366-9511
 

Review and Modification

PETITIONS FOR REVIEW OR MODIFICATION OF EXISTING GUIDANCE

Pursuant to the E.O. 13891, we provide the public the opportunity to petition for review or modification of an existing guidance document. A petition must:

  • Be submitted to Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, West Building, Washington, DC 20590;
  • Be written in the English language;
  • Identify at the beginning of the petition the guidance document(s) the petitioner requests be modified and/or repealed by, at a minimum, the title of the document and date of issuance;
  • Set forth an explanation of reasons why the guidance document(s) should be modified and/or repealed; and
  • Contain the name and address of the petitioner.