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Wireless vehicular communication has the potential to enable a host of new applications, the most important of which are a class of safety applications that can prevent collisions and save thousands of lives. The automotive industry is working to develop the dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) technology, for use in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-roadside communication. The effectiveness of this technology is highly dependent on cooperative standards for interoperability. This paper explains the content and status of the DSRC standards being developed for deployment in the United States. Included in the discussion are the IEEE 802.11p amendment for wireless access in vehicular environments (WAVE), the IEEE 1609.2, 1609.3, and 1609.4 standards for Security, Network Services and Multi-Channel Operation, the SAE J2735 Message Set Dictionary, and the emerging SAE J2945.1 Communication Minimum Performance Requirements standard. The paper shows how these standards fit together to provide a comprehensive solution for DSRC. Most of the key standards are either recently published or expected to be completed in the coming year. A reader will gain a thorough understanding of DSRC technology for vehicular communication, including insights into why specific technical solutions are being adopted, and key challenges remaining for successful DSRC deployment. The U.S. Department of Transportation is planning to decide in 2013 whether to require DSRC equipment in new vehicles.