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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards

Frequently Asked Questions

Do the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) (49 CFR 571) apply to rail cars?

The FMVSS requirements in 49 CFR 571 apply to motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment only. The standards do not apply to rail cars. (Revised August 24, 2009)

I am a bus operator. How do I complain about the fleet of unsafe buses I drive?

The FTA provides financial assistance to public transit agencies. Two other DOT modes are responsible for regulating vehicle safety matters. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the DOT mode responsible for motor vehicle and highway safety standard and regulations. You can file a complaint via their website: In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration contributes to ensuring safety in motor carrier operations through strong enforcement of safety regulations, targeting high-risk carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers; improving safety information systems and commercial motor vehicle technologies; strengthening commercial motor vehicle equipment and operating standards; and increasing safety awareness. (Posted: December 2009)

Are there any Safety Regulations that would limit or prohibit the amount of standees in an aisle for a Commuter Express type service or a par transit vehicle (cutaway) used on a fixed route type of service? Also, what would the standee capacity be for a cutaway bus w/ a passenger capacity of 19 seat & 4 wheelchair securement devices? Should this type of bus be used for standees?

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are administered by NHTSA, not FTA. You should direct your question to them: (Posted: November, 2010)

Does FTA require that an FMVSS sticker be affixed to all rolling stock purchased with Federal funds? I have found literature that states a sticker is mandatory (in addition to a written certification) and other literature that states a written certification is the only requirement. Which is correct?

The FMVSS sticker is required to comply with NHTSA’s vehicle safety requirements - see 49 CFR part 567.

In order to comply with FTA funding eligibility requirements, however, the recipient must ensure that the vehicles comply with NHTSA’s safety standards, so both an FMVSS sticker and a written certification of compliance are required, as stated in FTA’s Post-Delivery Review handbook, with a sample certification form. (Posted: August, 2013)

FVMSS standards #220 - Rollover Protection and #221 - Joint Strength, state they apply to school buses. What are the related standards for BOC/cutaway transit buses? Background Information: needed for procurement specifications.

The FVMSS standards are administered by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA). NHTSA does not regulate these vehicles in this regard. FMVSS No.220 Rollover Protection and FMVSS No. 221 Joint Strength do not apply to transit buses. (Posted: January, 2015)