Bumpers are designed to provide limited protection to the body and safety components of a passenger vehicle, including the hood, grille and headlamps, in a low-speed collision.
Some states, such as California, have laws stating that it is illegal to drive a passenger vehicle without a front bumper.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, the purpose of a bumper is “… to prevent or reduce physical damage to the front and rear ends of passenger motor vehicles in low-speed collisions. …It is not a safety feature intended to prevent or mitigate injury severity to occupants in the passenger cars."
California Vehicle Code
The California Vehicle Code 28071 says that every passenger vehicle registered in the state of California shall be equipped with a front and rear bumper.
In the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, or e-CFR, "the bumper standard" (49 CFR Part 581 ) sets performance requirements for passenger cars in low-speed front and rear collisions to prevent the damage to the car body and safety-related equipment at impact speeds of 2 mph across the full width and 1 mph on the corners.
The NHTSA states that not all vehicle classes must meet the federal bumper standard. The standard does not apply to vehicles other than passenger cars (sport-utility vehicles, minivans or pickups trucks) because a bumper may compromise operation.