International Automotive Safety Standards

Motor vehicles built to U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and the equivalent European regulations, known as Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) standards, both lead to the highest levels of safety performance and outcomes. If a manufacturer builds to applicable FMVSS or ECE standards it should be able to sell that product worldwide.

When other countries accept both of these equally robust sets of standards, they encourage a more efficient and competitive automotive industry by:

  • Reducing numbers of prototypes needed for testing;
  • Eliminating redundant testing and calibration that have no added safety benefit;
  • Reducing record keeping, data process and oversight resources;
  • Reducing administration/retrofitting costs for consumers relocating between countries; and
  • Moving transportation of automobiles and auto parts across international borders more efficiently.

The European Commission is already actively promoting the use of ECE automotive safety standards around the world, including through its free trade agreements. To help ensure that FMVSS are also accepted internationally we have proposed that the United States:

  • Proactively seek acceptance of FMVSS regulations worldwide;
  • Strongly and swiftly address regulations that emerge in individual countries/regions that act as technical barriers to U.S. auto exports; and
  • Explicitly include acceptance of U.S. and other globally-recognized regulations in all new and existing U.S. free trade agreements.

This is intended to match the vigor with which the EU has been pursuing its standards globally on behalf of its vehicle industries, and is not in any way intended to supplant the acceptance of ECE safety standards. In fact, as noted above, we recommend countries accept vehicles certified to both FMVSS and ECE regulations.

By ensuring that vehicles certified to FMVSS are also accepted worldwide, our nation will reinforce the globally competitive export platform, boosting the U.S. economy and the new jobs it can create through growing exports.