There’s a lot of grey in the map above, and each grey state indicates that there is no local law there defining the rules for medium-speed vehicles (MSVs). We’ve written plenty about low-speed vehicles, but what’s an MSV? It’s a car that ” has some safety equipment such as lights, reflectors, mirrors, parking brake, windshield, and safety belts” and can go at least 30 mph (but not more than 35 mph).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) denied a request, in 2008, to create a national MSV category, which means it falls to the states to define where these vehicles, often pure electric ones, can be legally driven. Eight states have bothered to do so (the ninth, Colorado, is colored in red because its laws will go into effect once the U.S. Department of Transportation defines MSV safety standards. NHTSA’s reasoning to not define the MSV category was based on safety concerns, specifically that if a car can go 35, it would be OK to use on streets where the potential accidents would overwhelm the minimal safety equipment on board. You can read more about the decision in this PDF.