Texas Proves Its Commitment To Freedom By Legalizing Kei Trucks

Image: Wikimedia
Image: Wikimedia

Japan’s unique keitora class of compact truck has proven a hit among American imported car fanatics, and thousands of the tiny little guys have been brought into the country. Unfortunately for fans of Liliputian work machines, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators recommended states to ban non-FMVSS compliant cars, including everything keijidōsha, back in 2021. The Texas DMV has issued a ruling that these cars are now, and will remain, street legal for use on Texas roadways. Can I get a hell yeah?

Since the AAMVA’s non-binding recommendation a few years ago, many states have started revoking the registrations of imported vehicles;most notably in Wisconsin, Maine, Georgia, Rhode Island, New York, and Pennsylvania. This ruling by the Texas DMV makes the state the first since the AAMVA decision which made any effort to allow imported cars to be legally driven again. This is all in spite of any imported car 25 years or older being perfectly legal in the eyes of the federal government.

Texas actually turned town a law to codify Kei truck legality in the state back in 2010, though some Kei enthusiasts have had luck registering and driving their trucks since, though it was always policy that non-FMVSS compliant cars were not legal in Texas. As of last week, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles overturned that policy with a letter to all county tax assessor-collectors and licensed dealers to provide guidance on the titling and registering of mini vehicles. You can read the letter right here. The most important part, however, is below:


Counties should begin accepting and processing title and registration applications for mini vehicles and ensure the applicant or dealer provides all required title and registration documents, including import documents when applicable. Ensure any off-highway use only vehicles are titled but not registered. Do not collect a delinquent transfer penalty for mini vehicles impacted by this [Registration and Title Bulletin].

This is a win for car enthusiasts in Texas, and the advocates who made it happen are already hard at work to make similar legal changes in Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Maine. Good luck, and Godspeed, ye heroes.

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