Motor Vehicle Law

Motor vehicle law covers all the aspects of registering and titling motor vehicles, and licensing drivers. It also covers highway, driver and vehicle safety laws. The associated laws and regulations are governed by both Federal and individual State laws. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) within the U.S. Department of Transportation sets and enforces safety performance standards for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, such as regulating fuel economy standards. NHTSA also conducts local highway safety programs. The Federal Highway Administration, also under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Transportation, administers federal highway programs in partnership with state and local agencies, to promote highway safety and technological excellence.

Although motor vehicle laws vary from state to state, there are some basic doctrines that are enforced nationwide: most motor vehicles may not be driven legally if they have never been registered with the state of residence's department of motor vehicles, or if the registration has expired; and in order to operate a motor vehicle, there must be some form of licensing of the driver.

The practice of Motor Vehicle Law includes addressing traffic violations while operating a motor vehicle, such as speeding, careless driving, or driving under a suspended license. These violations are criminal offenses and are categorized as either Petty Offenses, Misdemeanors, or Felonies. DUI/DWI Law is a branch of this area of law.

To consult Transportation laws and regulations in your State visit our Department of Transportation by State page.


Know Your Rights!

  • Are Self-Driving Cars Legal?

    A number of states have taken interest in this technology and have passed legislation approving the deployment of self-driving vehicles to their roads. So what are these laws? What do they allow or prohibit? Which states currently authorize self-driving vehicles?

  • How to Fight a Traffic Ticket

    You have been pulled over but you are not sure why. You do not think you did anything wrong, but you get a ticket anyway. How do you fight it?

  • In a Rear End Collision, Is the Guy in the Back Always at Fault?

    Being in any accident can be a nightmare, but when you are the driver of a vehicle that collided with another from the rear, it can be particularly troubling. Conventional wisdom will usually tell you that the driver in the back is always at fault, and in most instances this will be true, but not all.

  • Is It Legal to Hitchhike?

    So, is it legal to hitchhike? As with many laws, the answer depends on the jurisdiction. There is no federal law regarding hitchhiking. However, each state has its own laws regarding hitching rides.

  • Is It Legal to Leave a Car Running Unattended?

    Whenever cold weather approaches, there is an increase in the number of people who leave their cars running unattended in an effort to warm them up before driving anywhere. While this might be good for the engine and make for a toasty commute, it may not always be legal.

  • My Car is a Lemon: Now What?

    When a car dealer sells you a lemon, how can you get to the "lemonade" of a properly functioning car and possibly even receiving a cash settlement?

  • Single-Vehicle Accidents

    Any car accident can be scary, embarrassing, and financially draining. But, those sensations can be greatly enhanced when the accident involves only one vehicle. Obviously, factors like road conditions, hidden obstacles, and weather conditions can adversely affect one's ability to control a vehicle and can result in an accident. So who will be liable?

  • What Makes for a Street Legal Vehicle?

    What is required for a vehicle to be considered "street legal?" Generally, "street legal" means having whatever equipment or features the law would require to allow one to operate it legally on the roads at any time and without restriction.

Motor Vehicle Law Articles

  • Dram Shop Law: Why You Might Want to Think Twice Before Hosting a House Party in Florida
    If alcohol is served at a party in your home and an accident occurs as a result, you could face criminal or civil liability charges under Florida’s open house party law.
  • What Should I Tell My Car Insurance Company After An Accident?
    A lot of people think that after a car accident, they should call the car insurance company right away. This is true, but you do not have to call the other party’s car insurance company after a car accident. You are only required to report your accident to your own car insurance company within a reasonable amount of time – even if you weren’t at fault for the car accident.
  • I Don’t Have Car Insurance in California. Do I Still Have a Case?
    If you were involved in a car accident in California and didn’t have car insurance at the time of the crash, you still have a case to pursue, but you won’t be able to recover the same amount of money if you did have car insurance.
  • What Are The Main Causes of Car Accidents?
    Unfortunately, car accidents are very common in the United States. While some of these accidents are minor, others can cause serious damages and injuries. Knowing the major causes of car accidents is one way to avoid being in a collision. Learn more about the most common causes of car accidents and how we can prevent them.
  • What Are Personal Injury Lawsuits and Claims?
    Personal injury claims are legal cases opened by those who become victims of various accidents through no fault of their own. If you have suffered injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence or unlawfulness, you are entitled to demand financial compensation for medical and rehabilitation bills, reduced earning ability, lost wages and bonuses, but also the resulting physical and emotional pain and suffering. California’s personal injury laws state that the alleged victim can file a lawsuit up to two years after the accident has occurred or up to one year after the damage was discovered. However, if the lawsuit is filed against a California state, county, or city agency, the statute of limitations is only six months to one year. Here are some of the most common types of personal injury claims.
  • Signs of a Distracted Driver
    There is very little that a safe driver can do to stop a distracted driver from continuing his or her reckless behavior.
  • What Does It Take to Recover from a Traumatic Brain Injury?
    Your brain is your most important organ. It regulates your body’s functions, keeping you alive. It processes everything you see, hear, smell, taste and touch. And it’s the physical seat of your consciousness. In many ways, your brain is who you are. You are your brain.
  • 3 Pedestrians Hospitalized After Car Strikes Them on Lawn in Connecticut
    Car crashes can be very serious, especially when there are pedestrians involved. Take for example this case in which three people were injured after a car collided with a group of pedestrians.
  • Motorcycle Accidents and the Inability to Work
    For motorcycle crash victims, a wide range of consequences often arise. Some face devastating financial pressure, while others are impacted from an emotional standpoint (such as those who become depressed or overwhelmed with anxiety following a crash).
  • Changes to Michigan's No-Fault Law Take Effect July 2nd, 2020 - What You Need to Know
    Decoding insurance can feel like a chore, but it’s important to educate yourself on the ins and outs of Michigan’s new No-Fault reform — it can help uncomplicate the process and get you the best coverage you’ll need after a car accident.
  • All Motor Vehicle Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Motor Vehicles Law including: auto dealer fraud, automobile accidents, automotive, bus accidents, lemon law, motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accident, railroad accidents, rollover accident, traffic violations, trucking accident.

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