All the aspects of registering and titling motor vehicles and licensing drivers are covered by the Motor vehicle law. It also covers vehicle safety laws, highway laws, and laws pertaining to drivers. Both Federal and individual State laws control and govern the associated laws and regulations. These all are set by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) within the U.S. Department of Transportation and also enforces safety performance standards for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, for example, regulating fuel economy standards. Highway safety programs are also conducted by the NHTSA. To promote highway safety and technological excellence under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Motor Vehicle Law administers federal highway programs in partnership with state and local agencies.

There are some basic doctrines that are enforced nationwide although motor vehicle laws vary from state to state: in order to operate a motor vehicle, there must be some form of licensing of the driver, and 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.


Addressing traffic violations while operating a motor vehicle, such as careless driving, speeding, or driving under a suspended license is also regulated and monitored by the Motor Vehicle Law. These violations falls under the category of criminal offenses and are categorized as Misdemeanors, Petty Offenses, or Felonies. DUI/DWI Law is a branch of this area of law.