US Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Letter:
June 3, 2022
- Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association (ROHVA)
- US Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA)
- The Tire & Rim Association, Inc. (T&RA)
- American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Committee F09
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ISO/TC 31
- Tire Business Publication
Subject: Improper Certification of UTV/ATV Tires to FMVSS
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has become aware of Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) and All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) tires offered for sale in the United States that are incorrectly labelled and marketed as being compliant with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The Agency is providing this information for your awareness and to promote compliance within the off-road tire industry. We encourage you to share this information with other industry members and stakeholders.
According to 49 U.S.C. § 30102, a “motor vehicle” is defined as:
(7) ‘‘motor vehicle’’ means a vehicle driven or drawn by mechanical power and manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads, and highways, but does not include a vehicle operated only on a rail line. (bold emphasis added).
Based on this definition, there are no FMVSS that apply to UTV or ATV tires, because UTVs and ATVs are not manufactured for use on public roadways. Additionally, 49 C.F.R. § 574, Tire Identification and Recordkeeping states:
49 C.F.R. § 574.5(e)(1) - The DOT symbol constitutes a certification that the marked tire conforms to an applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.
49 C.F.R. § 574.5(e)(3) – The DOT symbol must not appear on tires to which no Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard is applicable… (bold emphasis added).
As stated above, this means that the symbol “DOT” cannot appear on any ATV, UTV, or Not for Highway Service (NHS) tire and that manufacturers may not certify that such tires conform to an FMVSS or make any representations that such tires conform to the FMVSS. Only tires intended for a vehicle certified to the FMVSS are legally permitted to be marked with “DOT” and may be marketed as conforming to the FMVSS.
As a reminder, language that tires are “approved,” “certified,” or “compliant” with standards that do not apply are misleading and we would appreciate your assistance in communicating this information to your members and distribution and retail channels so that it can be revised.
BFGoodrich (KM3) Tires Statement:
The Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 UTV tires follow the Tire & Rim Association’s NHS (Not for Highway Service) tire design standard and are for ATV/UTV use only. The Tire & Rim Association defines NHS as "Tires primarily designed for use outside of public roads, but suitable for temporary/incidental use on public roads." Please refer to U.S Tire Manufacturers Tire Information Service Bulletin TISB 07 - Misapplication of "Not for Highway Service (NHS)" Tires for more information.
The Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 UTV tires are not DOT approved. Some counties and states in the USA allow ATVs/UTVs to be used on public roads. As of 8/1/2018, a DOT approved tire is not currently required by the counties and states in the USA that allow the use of an ATV/UTV on public roads. Please consult local or state laws for using your ATV/UTV on public roads.
Greenball (GBC) Tires Statement:
Is there a law or agency that certifies UTV tires as DOT compliant?
There is no U.S. law or regulation within the United States Federal Register that governs the street, road, or highway use/application of UTV tires in any manner. As of 2022, there is no classification, regulation, or guideline that would make or allow any UTV tire "street legal" or approved by NHTSA or DOT.
How/why was GBC marketing and marking their tires as street approved?
GBC Powersports previously used steel-belted light truck standard (FMVSS 119) as the unit of measurement for calling a UTV tire "street legal." However, we were informed by NHTSA/DOT that this measurement cannot be used, as the language of FMVSS 119 does not specifically include UTV vehicles. Therefore, we cannot use FMVSS 119 as a measurement of certification.
What does this mean for me, the consumer? Is GBC changing its tire construction?
NHTSA/DOT has notified GBC and other manufacturers to remove the "DOT" stamp from all UTV tires. There will be no change to the construction or design of our UTV tires. GBC will continue to design and test our UTV tires to a level that we believe is appropriate for UTV use in multiple terrains and various road surfaces. The "DOT" mark will be removed from GBC UTV tire sidewalls, and we will no longer make any remarks to "DOT approval," "DOT certified," or "street-legal." Currently, there is no legally permissible way to street legalize a UTV tire as there is no federal regulation or standard in the United States Federal Register. GBC Powersports tires will continue to pioneer the multi-terrain UTV tire market, and we will work with our customers, consumers, and the appropriate government agencies to establish benchmarks for legalizing and certification of UTV tires for street use.