We all appreciate driving on safer roads. The auto safety regulations that have been put in place make navigating the roads less hazardous than if they had not been enforced. Imagine the lives saved by seatbelts alone. Newer technologies continue to contribute to fewer accidents on the road. Today’s optional safety features may become tomorrow’s safety regulations. How does that process work?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Auto safety regulations did not always exist. Like any new invention or technology, the pros and cons of automobiles were not totally obvious at first. Regulations for auto safety evolved over time. In fact, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was not signed into law until September 9, 1966, by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Next, he signed the Highway Safety Act. Together, these two bills put the responsibility of enacting safety standards for cars and roads on the federal government.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was born out of the Highway Safety Act of 1970. This organization replaced the National Highway Safety Bureau, which was set in place to carry out safety programs resulting from the two bills President Johnson signed.
Research-Driven Safety Results
The NHTSA is charged with making roads and vehicles safer, and they do this in conjunction with other federal programs and research-driven results, which lead to auto safety regulations. It took a while for seatbelts to become standard equipment on cars and longer for wearing them to become mandatory, but the research proved their undeniable help in saving lives. The work done by NHTSA is data-driven, as they research new technologies and ideas leading to safer journeys.
The NHTSA is not only concerned about auto safety regulations and roadways. They address safety issues for passengers, pedestrians and cyclists, as well as motor vehicle operators. Their scope is wide and they help regional areas to address specific safety issues.
Auto Safety Regulations Making Vehicles and Roads Safer
There have been many improvements in auto and highway safety over the years. New technologies bring the promise of yet-safer roadways, but these innovations take time to develop. Once they’ve been sufficiently studied and tested, they can be used in a wider circle and, if proven to make a significant impact on safety, they may become standard.
As long as humans are driving the cars, there will be human error and accidents will happen; however, accidents will happen even when humans are not at the wheel, as we’ve seen in the news about autonomous vehicles. We still have a long way to go to make our roadways as safe as they can be.
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