DOT/NHTSA Authority

The blue "Star of Life" was adopted and registered as a certification mark applied for in accordance with the Office of the Secretary of Transportation’s Memorandum of September 26, 1972, re: Service Marks and Trade Marks. The Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks registered the "Star of Life" symbol in the name of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on February 1, 1977, under provision of the Trademark Act of 1946. This registration shall remain in force for an initial term of twenty years unless sooner terminated as provided by law.

By Memorandum, dated November 18, 1976, the Office of the Secretary of Transportation approved the "Star of Life” as an exception to DOT Order 1000.3A, Official Seal and Insignia of the Department of Transportation, "to use a symbol known as the blue "Star of Life" as a Departmental program symbol."

On September 14, 1977, the Administrator, NHTSA, published a memorandum containing authorizations and criteria relative to the use of the symbol for implementation of Standard 11, statewide system development and achievement of a nationally recognized level of prehospital emergency medical care. Hospital emergency department personnel are included in that category. The States (as defined in the Highway Safety Act of 1966 - Amended) and Federal agencies with emergency medical services ( EMS) involvement are authorized as agents of the Administrator to permit and exercise supervisory control over use of the symbol. Such control shall be in accordance with the purpose and criteria set forth by the Administrator. These are included herein under "Authorization and Criteria" and "Specifications." In the exercise of this authority, violations should be brought to the attention of the Federal District Attorney.

On August 3, 1993, NHTSA published a notice in the Federal Register (58 FR. 41316) announcing that it was considering whether to expand the purposes for which the blue "Star of Life" could he used and whether other changes to the guidelines for the authorized use of the symbol would be appropriate.

The notice requested comments front the public on whether the agency should authorize the use of the "Star of Life" symbol in EMS programs, including its use on personal items such as bracelets or necklaces, to identify individuals who are DNR candidates. The notice also requested comments on whether the agency should make other revisions to its guidelines for the authorized use of the blue "Star of Life." A final rule was established on August 11, 1994, amending the specifications and criteria for using the “Star of Life.” The U.S. Department of Transportation, NHTSA, is the originator and owner of this symbol and holds priority rights to its use.