U.S. Code of Federal Regulations
Regulations most recently checked for updates: May 29, 2023
(a) Statutory definitions. All terms defined in section 102 of the Act are used in their statutory meaning.
(b) Other definitions. As used in this chapter—
Act means the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 (80 Stat. 718).
Approved, unless used with reference to another person, means approved by the Secretary.
Boat trailer means a trailer designed with cradle-type mountings to transport a boat and configured to permit launching of the boat from the rear of the trailer.
Bus means a motor vehicle with motive power, except a trailer, designed for carrying more than 10 persons.
Curb weight means the weight of a motor vehicle with standard equipment; maximum capacity of engine fuel, oil, and coolant; and, if so equipped, air conditioning and additional weight optional engine.
Designated seating capacity means the number of designated seating positions provided.
Designated seating position means:
(1) For vehicles manufactured prior to September 1, 2011, any plan view location capable of accommodating a person at least as large as a 5th percentile adult female, if the overall seat configuration and design and vehicle design is such that the position is likely to be used as a seating position while the vehicle is in motion, except for auxiliary seating accommodations such as temporary or folding jump seats. Any bench or split-bench seat in a passenger car, truck or multipurpose passenger vehicle with a GVWR less than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds), having greater than 127 centimeters (50 inches) of hip room (measured in accordance with Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Recommended Practice J1100a, revised September 1975, “Motor Vehicle Dimensions” (incorporated by reference, see § 571.5), shall have not less than three designated seating positions, unless the seat design or vehicle design is such that the center position cannot be used for seating. For the sole purpose of determining the classification of any vehicle sold or introduced into interstate commerce for purposes that include carrying students to and from school or related events, any location in such vehicle intended for securement of an occupied wheelchair during vehicle operation shall be regarded as four designated seating positions.
(2) For vehicles manufactured on and after September 1, 2011, designated seating position means a seat location that has a seating surface width, as described in § 571.10(c) of this part, of at least 330 mm (13 inches). The number of designated seating positions at a seat location is determined according to the procedure set forth in § 571.10(b) of this part. However, for trucks and multipurpose passenger vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 lbs, police vehicles as defined in S7 of FMVSS No. 208, firefighting vehicles, ambulances, and motor homes, a seating location that is labeled in accordance with S4.4 of FMVSS No. 207 will not be considered a designated seating position. For the sole purpose of determining the classification of any vehicle sold or introduced into interstate commerce for purposes that include carrying students to and from school or related events, any location in such a vehicle intended for securement of an occupied wheelchair during vehicle operation is regarded as four designated seating positions.
Driver means the occupant of a motor vehicle seated immediately behind the steering control system.
Driver air bag means the air bag installed for the protection of the occupant of the driver's designated seating position.
Driver dummy means the test dummy positioned in the driver's designated seating position.
Driver's designated seating position means a designated seating position providing immediate access to manually operated driving controls. As used in this part, the terms “driver's seating position” and “driver's seat” shall have the same meaning as “driver's designated seating position.”
Emergency brake means a mechanism designed to stop a motor vehicle after a failure of the service brake system.
5th percentile adult female means a person possessing the dimensions and weight of the 5th percentile adult female specified for the total age group in “Weight, Height, and Selected Body Dimensions of Adults: United States—1960–1962,” first published as Public Health Service Publication No. 1000 Series 11–No. 8, June 1965 and republished as DHEW Publication No. (HRA) 76–1074 (incorporated by reference, see § 571.5).
Firefighting vehicle means a vehicle designed exclusively for the purpose of fighting fires.
Fixed collision barrier means a flat, vertical, unyielding surface with the following characteristics:
(1) The surface is sufficiently large that when struck by a tested vehicle, no portion of the vehicle projects or passes beyond the surface.
(2) The approach is a horizontal surface that is large enough for the vehicle to attain a stable attitude during its approach to the barrier, and that does not restrict vehicle motion during impact.
(3) When struck by a vehicle, the surface and its supporting structure absorb no significant portion of the vehicle's kinetic energy, so that a performance requirement described in terms of impact with a fixed collision barrier must be met no matter how small an amount of energy is absorbed by the barrier.
Forward control means a configuration in which more than half of the engine length is rearward of the foremost point of the windshield base and the steering wheel hub is in the forward quarter of the vehicle length.
Full trailer means a trailer, except a pole trailer, that is equipped with two or more axles that support the entire weight of the trailer.
Gross axle weight rating or GAWR means the value specified by the vehicle manufacturer as the load-carrying capacity of a single axle system, as measured at the tire-ground interfaces.
Gross combination weight rating or GCWR means the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a combination vehicle.
Gross vehicle weight rating or GVWR means the value specified by the manufacturer as the loaded weight of a single vehicle.
H-Point means the pivot center of the torso and thigh on the three-dimensional device used in defining and measuring vehicle seating accommodation, as defined in Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Recommended Practice J1100, revised February 2001, “Motor Vehicle Dimensions” (incorporated by reference, see § 571.5).
Head impact area means all nonglazed surfaces of the interior of a vehicle that are statically contactable by a 6.5-inch diameter spherical head form of a measuring device having a pivot point to “top-of-head” dimension infinitely adjustable from 29 to 33 inches in accordance with the following procedure, or its graphic equivalent:
(a) At each designated seating position, place the pivot point of the measuring device—
(1) For seats that are adjustable fore and aft, at—
(i) The seating reference point; and
(ii) A point 5 inches horizontally forward of the seating reference point and vertically above the seating reference point an amount equal to the rise which results from a 5–inch forward adjustment of the seat or 0.75 inch; and
(2) For seats that are not adjustable fore and aft, at the seating reference point.
(b) With the pivot point to “top-of-head” dimension at each value allowed by the device and the interior dimensions of the vehicle, determine all contact points above the lower windshield glass line and forward of the seating reference point.
(c) With the head form at each contact point, and with the device in a vertical position if no contact points exists for a particular adjusted length, pivot the measuring device forward and downward through all arcs in vertical planes to 90° each side of the vertical longitudinal plane through the seating reference point, until the head form contacts an interior surface or until it is tangent to a horizontal plane 1 inch above the seating reference point, whichever occurs first.
Interior compartment door means any door in the interior of the vehicle installed by the manufacturer as a cover for storage space normally used for personal effects.
Longitudinal or longitudinally means parallel to the longitudinal centerline of the vehicle.
Low-speed vehicle (LSV) means a motor vehicle,
(1) That is 4-wheeled,
(2) Whose speed attainable in 1.6 km (1 mile) is more than 32 kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour) and not more than 40 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) on a paved level surface, and
(3) Whose GVWR is less than 1,361 kilograms (3,000 pounds).
Manually operated driving controls means a system of controls:
(i) That are used by an occupant for real-time, sustained, manual manipulation of the motor vehicle's heading (steering) and/or speed (accelerator and brake); and
(ii) That is positioned such that they can be used by an occupant, regardless of whether the occupant is actively using the system to manipulate the vehicle's motion.
Motorcycle means a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.
Motor-driven cycle means a motorcycle with a motor that produces 5-brake horsepower or less.
Motor home means a multipurpose passenger vehicle with motive power that is designed to provide temporary residential accommodations, as evidenced by the presence of at least four of the following facilities: Cooking; refrigeration or ice box; self-contained toilet; heating and/or air conditioning; a potable water supply system including a faucet and a sink; and a separate 110–125 volt electrical power supply and/or propane.
Multifunction school activity bus (MFSAB) means a school bus whose purposes do not include transporting students to and from home or school bus stops.
Multipurpose passenger vehicle means a motor vehicle with motive power, except a low-speed vehicle or trailer, designed to carry 10 persons or less which is constructed either on a truck chassis or with special features for occasional off-road operation.
Open-body type vehicle means a vehicle having no occupant compartment top or an occupant compartment top that can be installed or removed by the user at his convenience.
Outboard designated seating position means a designated seating position where a longitudinal vertical plane tangent to the outboard side of the seat cushion is less than 12 inches from the innermost point on the inside surface of the vehicle at a height between the design H-point and the shoulder reference point (as shown in fig. 1 of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 210) and longitudinally between the front and rear edges of the seat cushion. As used in this part, the terms “outboard seating position” and “outboard seat” shall have the same meaning as “outboard designated seating position.”
Overall vehicle width means the nominal design dimension of the widest part of the vehicle, exclusive of signal lamps, marker lamps, outside rearview mirrors, flexible fender extensions, and mud flaps, determined with doors and windows closed and the wheels in the straight-ahead position.
Parking brake means a mechanism designed to prevent the movement of a stationary motor vehicle.
Passenger car means a motor vehicle with motive power, except a low-speed vehicle, multipurpose passenger vehicle, motorcycle, or trailer, designed for carrying 10 persons or less.
Passenger seating position means any designated seating position other than the driver's designated seating position, except as noted below. As used in this part, the term “passenger seat” shall have the same meaning as “passenger seating position.” As used in this part, “passenger seating position” includes what was a “driver's designated seating position” prior to stowing of the present manually operated driving controls.
Pelvic impact area means that area of the door or body side panel adjacent to any outboard designated seating position which is bounded by horizontal planes 7 inches above and 4 inches below the seating reference point and vertical transverse planes 8 inches forward and 2 inches rearward of the seating reference point.
Pole trailer means a motor vehicle without motive power designed to be drawn by another motor vehicle and attached to the towing vehicle by means of a reach or pole, or by being boomed or otherwise secured to the towing vehicle, for transporting long or irregularly shaped loads such as poles, pipes, or structural members capable generally of sustaining themselves as beams between the supporting connections.
Recreation vehicle trailer means a trailer, except a trailer designed primarily to transport cargo, designed to be drawn by a vehicle with motive power by means of a bumper, frame or fifth wheel hitch and designed to provide temporary residential accommodations, as evidenced by the presence of at least four of the following facilities: cooking; refrigeration or ice box; self-contained toilet; heating and/or air conditioning; a potable water supply system including a faucet and a sink; and a separate 110–125 volt electrical power supply and/or propane. “Recreation vehicle trailer” includes trailers used for personal purposes, commonly known as “sport utility RVs” or “toy haulers,” which usually have spacious rather than incidental living quarters and provide a cargo area for smaller items for personal use such as motorcycles, mountain bikes, all terrain vehicles (ATVs), snowmobiles, canoes or other types of recreational gear.
Row means a set of one or more seats whose seat outlines do not overlap with the seat outline of any other seats, when all seats are adjusted to their rearmost normal riding or driving position, when viewed from the side.
School bus means a bus that is sold, or introduced in interstate commerce, for purposes that include carrying students to and from school or related events, but does not include a bus designed and sold for operation as a common carrier in urban transportation.
Seat outline means the outer limits of a seat projected laterally onto a vertical longitudinal vehicle plane.
Seating reference point (SgRP) means the unique design H-point, as defined in Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Recommended Practice J1100, revised June 1984, “Motor Vehicle Dimensions” (incorporated by reference, see § 571.5), which:
(1) Establishes the rearmost normal design driving or riding position of each designated seating position, which includes consideration of all modes of adjustment, horizontal, vertical, and tilt, in a vehicle;
(2) Has X, Y, and Z coordinates, as defined in Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Recommended Practice J1100, revised June 1984, “Motor Vehicle Dimensions” (incorporated by reference, see § 571.5), established relative to the designed vehicle structure;
(3) Simulates the position of the pivot center of the human torso and thigh; and
(4) Is the reference point employed to position the two-dimensional drafting template with the 95th percentile leg described in Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Standard J826, revised May 1987, “Devices for Use in Defining and Measuring Vehicle Seating Accommodation” (incorporated by reference, see § 571.5), or, if the drafting template with the 95th percentile leg cannot be positioned in the seating position, is located with the seat in its most rearward adjustment position.
Semitrailer means a trailer, except a pole trailer, so constructed that a substantial part of its weight rests upon or is carried by another motor vehicle.
Service brake means the primary mechanism designed to stop a motor vehicle.
Speed attainable in 1 mile means the speed attainable by accelerating at maximum rate from a standing start for 1 mile, on a level surface.
Speed attainable in 2 miles means the speed attainable by accelerating at maximum rate from a standing start for 2 miles, on a level surface.
Steering control system means the manually operated driving control used to control the vehicle heading and its associated trim hardware, including any portion of a steering column assembly that provides energy absorption upon impact. As used in this part, the term “steering wheel” and “steering control” shall have the same meaning as “steering control system.”
Torso line means the line connecting the “H” point and the shoulder reference point as defined in Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Standard J787b, revised September 1966, “Motor Vehicle Seat Belt Anchorage” (incorporated by reference, see § 571.5).
Trailer means a motor vehicle with or without motive power, designed for carrying persons or property and for being drawn by another motor vehicle.
Trailer converter dolly means a trailer chassis equipped with one or more axles, a lower half of a fifth wheel and a drawbar.
Truck means a motor vehicle with motive power, except a trailer, designed primarily for the transportation of property or special purpose equipment.
Truck tractor means a truck designed primarily for drawing other motor vehicles and not so constructed as to carry a load other than a part of the weight of the vehicle and the load so drawn.
Unloaded vehicle weight means the weight of a vehicle with maximum capacity of all fluids necessary for operation of the vehicle, but without cargo, occupants, or accessories that are ordinarily removed from the vehicle when they are not in use.
95th percentile adult male means a person possessing the dimensions and weight of the 95th percentile adult male specified “Weight, Height, and Selected Body Dimensions of Adults: United States—1960–1962,” first published as Public Health Service Publication No. 1000 Series 11-No. 8, June 1965 and republished as DHEW Publication No. (HRA) 76–1074 (incorporated by reference, see § 571.5).
Vehicle fuel tank capacity means the tank's unusable capacity (i.e., the volume of fuel left at the bottom of the tank when the vehicle's fuel pump can no longer draw fuel from the tank) plus its usable capacity (i.e., the volume of fuel that can be pumped into the tank through the filler pipe with the vehicle on a level surface and with the unusable capacity already in the tank). The term does not include the vapor volume of the tank (i.e., the space above the fuel tank filler neck) nor the volume of the fuel tank filler neck.