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Improving Road Safety on the National Level: How the NHTSA Is Working to Prevent Car Accidents

Posted on February 8, 2016 in

How the NHTSA Is Working to Prevent Car Accidents

In 1970, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was formed to enforce federal motor vehicle safety standards. Over time, however, the NHTSA’s role in promoting transportation safety has grown, particularly as vehicle safety technology has evolved.

Now, with decades of road safety progress under its belt, the NHTSA has centered its mission – which primarily revolves around preventing traffic crashes and saving lives – on three main issues and efforts:

  1. Using vehicle safety technology to prevent crashes and traffic deaths
  2. Enhancing recall efforts, as well as vehicle owners’ compliance with recalls
  3. Strengthening some core safety programs aimed at improving driver behaviors and choices.

How the NHTSA Is Using Vehicle Technology to Enhance Safety

The steps that the NHTSA is taking towards using technological advancements to improve roadway safety may be as innovative as they are interesting.

Take, for instance, the development of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) crash avoidance technology. This sort of technology could allow the computers in vehicles to assume control from drivers in order to avoid car crashes.

“The Department wants to speed the nation toward an era when vehicle safety isn’t just about surviving crashes; it’s about avoiding them,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx stated in May 2015. “Connected, automated vehicles that can sense the environment around them and communicate with other vehicles and with infrastructure have the potential to revolutionize road safety and save thousands of lives.”

Can you imagine driving around in a car that communicates with the vehicles around you in traffic to avoid auto accidents – pretty amazing isn’t it?

Another safety innovation the NHTSA is pushing comes in the form of electronic stability control (ESC) for heavy trucks and large buses. This technology would automatically take control of steering and/or braking if the driver wasn’t able to prevent a crash in time. Some data has indicated that, if all heavy trucks and large buses were equipped with ESC, at least 49 lives could be saved – and about 2,000 traffic accidents could be prevented – each year in the U.S.

Improving Recall Efforts & Responses to Enhance Roadway Safety

Another facet of federal authorities’ work to improve roadway safety comes in the form of identifying defective, faulty and/or dangerous vehicle equipment – and taking action to get it out of circulation.

This effort reportedly involves:

  • Enforcing the Motor Vehicle Safety Act in order to encourage automakers to come clean about defective vehicle equipment
  • Working with automakers (or other manufacturers) to develop and roll out effective recall remedies
  • Urging vehicle owners to respond to vehicle recalls (as recent findings indicate that about 25 percent of vehicle owners never respond to recalls affecting their cars).

Enhancing Core Safety Programs to Prevent Crashes

Lastly, the NHTSA has focused on strengthening its safety programs effective. As part of these efforts, they have reportedly:

  • Streamlined the federal grant approval process and awarded $576 million to states’ transportation safety programs
  • Enhanced standards for child restraints and safety seats
  • Focused on developing a number of public awareness campaigns aimed at encouraging drivers to make safe choices behind the wheel.

Contact Lakewood Auto Accident Lawyer James L. Finegan

If you or someone you love has been hurt in an auto accident, contact Lakewood Car Accident Lawyer James L. Finegan to find out more about your recovery options. You can call (303) 980-5511 or (888) 980-5511. You can also send an email via the contact form on this page.