Things To Know About Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards

Various vehicles and drivers with different attitudes use roads every day. Every country has set rules and regulations regarding the standards of vehicles, and such rules help promote road safety. In the United States, the federal government mandates the Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards to inspect and ensure that motor vehicles meet the minimum safety standards to reduce accidents and injuries caused by faulty vehicles. In this guide, we shall examine the FMVSS and try to enlighten you on what you should know about this body.

Many or few have heard of FMVSS but have little or no interest in knowing more about it. Wait, the day you will be in dire need of importing a vehicle, you will have to interact with FMVSS.

The U.S Department of Transport is wide, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulates the FMVSS and works in the DOT. The FMVSS works closely with the United Nations regulations, which the World Forum developed for the Harmonization of vehicle regulations.

Different FMVSS Safety Categories You Should Know

In 1967, FMVSS enacted the first vehicle law, and such laws are regularly updated to accommodate the revolutions in the motor industry. Recently, electric cars were introduced, and FMVSS has created regulations regarding electric vehicles. The safety stress by FMVSS range from the design, components, and system of your vehicle. The body focuses on safety, from your car’s brakes to the interior design. 

The safety standards are in three main divisions; crash avoidance, crashworthiness, and post-crash survivability.

Crash Avoidance Standards

This category comprises features a vehicle should have to control/avoid the crush. Such features are essential to prevent your vehicle from crashing. Let us look at some of those features.

The Braking System, the FMVSS, will check the effectiveness of the anti-lock braking system, the air brakes, and the electric brakes.

Reflective devices and lamps, lamps, and reflectors are life savers on the roads, improving visibility.

Tires and rims, bad tires, and rims cause vehicle crashes. The FMVSS checks if the vehicle tires are standard and the pressure monitoring system is effective.


FMVSS focuses on passenger safety when a crash occurs. If a crash occurs, the occupants should survive injuries that might result from the vehicle’s interior, such as the steering wheel, airbags failure, and the seatbelt. This category focuses on; interior impact protection, steering control system, side-impact passenger protection, and the seat belt system. They mainly major in interior safety. 

Post–Crash Survivability

Checking the possibility of surviving after a crash is necessary. Some vehicles catch fire after a crash. If an occupant survives the crash, they should also survive the fire. FMVSS checks on the possibility of survival after a crash in this category. The FMVSS checks on; Fuel system integrity, how flammable the interior materials are, and electric-powered vehicles. 


The Federal Motorvehicle Safety Standards ensure that vehicles imported to the united states and those manufactured in the U.S. meets the minimum safety requirements. The safety requirements are put to reduce road accidents and minimize injuries if a crash occurs. Since its creation, it has performed its roles efficiently and reduced road deaths.

Regulations On Importing Mini Trucks And Mini Vans To USA

Worried about importing a mini truck or minivan to the US because you are not sure about the restrictions? Worry no more. In this guide, we have gathered every detail to help you understand how different states have restrictions on the use of mini tucks and what restrictions there may be depending on the state.

Importing vehicles that are older than 25 years old is much easier that you thought and these vehicles can be used as on road legal without any restrictions. When it comes to dealing with mini trucks that are under 25 years old, restrictions may apply depending on state laws and requirements. There are some states that do not allow the use of mini truck on interstate highways, while others have restrictions even on off-roads.

If the vehicle you would like to import is under 25 years old and want to import it as off-road vehicle but still have doubts and wondering what conditions your state has, then you may want to check out the list we have made for you.

States Where Mini Trucks Are Allowed If the Vehicle is Younger than 25 Years Old

Alabama – (Not allowed in interstate highways)

Kansas – (Not allowed on federal or state highways and when under corporate city limits)

Kentucky- (Allowed as a local option)

Maine – (Allowed as long as they do not exceed 35 mph)

Florida – (Allowed as long as they do not exceed 35 mph)

Arkansas – (Allowed as long as they do not exceed 55 mph, not in interstate highways and when the vehicle is strictly used for farm use)

California – (Allowed in California as long as the vehicle is used in a natural island of more than 20,000 acres with a population not less than 4,000,000)

Idaho – (Allowed as a local option and on roads designed by Idaho Transport Board)

Illinois – (allowed for use in roads with posted speed limit of less than 35 mph and under local ordinance)

Indiana – (Not allowed in interstate highways)

Minnesota – (allowed as a local option)

Missouri – (Allowed as a local option)

Nebraska – (Not allowed in interstate highways, expressways and on freeways)

New Hampshire – (Allowed on roads with posted speed limit of 35 mph and below and shouldn’t be over 25 miles from registrant’s residence)

North Dakota – (Allowed in paved roads except those with posted speed limits of 65 mph)

Ohio – (Allowed in roads with posted speed limits of 35 mph and when allowed under local ordinance)

Oklahoma – (Not allowed in interstate highways)

Tennessee – (posted speed limit is less than 40 mph and where safety is a concern, the county or municipality may restrict the use of medium speed vehicles)

Utah – (Not allowed in interstate highways)

Wyoming – (Not allowed in interstate highways)

States Where Mini Trucks Have Restrictions On Vehicles Newer than 25 Years Old






District of Columbia










New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina



Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota





West Virginia



Please note that states regulations and restrictions can change at any time and we do our best to keep this information updated. It is therefore important to double check if there have been any recent changes with your state.

Things to Keep in mind When Importing Mini Trucks From Japan

Apart from the state requirements, here are some other things that you will find handy when importing your mini truck.

  • Plan and Set Your Budget

It is always important to keep everything in check and one thing that you can’t ignore for sure is to plan your budget and allocate a reasonable amount that you are willing to spare for the vehicle. Having an extra amount set aside is also important and this will help you avoid any shortcomings and miscellaneous expenses in case there are some increases and things such as inflation adjustments. With this in check, you have tackled half the burden and everything else will run smoothly.

  • Make sure you are importing from a legit dealer

There are lots of fraudsters all over. Non-existent companies that claim to sell used Japanese cars are on the rise and one needs to be extra cautious to avoid falling for their traps. A legit used Japanese car exporter should have a real address and one shouldn’t send money to make a purchase before verifying everything concerning the dealer. Sometimes seeking the help of an advisor to help when you come across a fishy deal is the best way to go.

  • Consider Finding Your Mini Truck From Auctions

Japan boasts having some of the best auctions in the world and on average there are over 20,000 cars are sold every single day. These vehicles are from all kinds and anyone across the globe can participate with the help of a Japanese car dealer or a broker. It can be a good option for anyone who wants to get affordable vehicles. Here at Substar, we help thousands of people find their dream vehicles through auctions, and you can be a part of it too.

  • Consider seeking the help of an import broker

If you are new to the whole import game and don’t have a clue on where to start then the best way to do it is by using an import broker. Among the many advantages that you will enjoy with the broker is swift shipping, hassle free clearance and sometimes you even get shipping offers which end up saving you tons of money.

Final Word:

It is very important to know what restrictions apply and whether it is safe for you to import a used mini truck from Japan. Hopefully, the guide has been resourceful and helped you better understand whether it you’ll be good with a mini truck in your state either on-road or off-road.

You can take some time to check out some of the mini tucks that are in our listings page and see the one that best meets your state requirements. Get in touch with us and we will give you more details on a vehicle that you come across. We will also help you with any after-sales services to ensure that you are fully satisfied with our services and that your vehicle is on its way safely.