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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also referred to as the NHTSA, is a government agency that is part of the United States Department of Transportation. The NHTSA was formed in 1970 with the passage of the Highway Safety Act of 1970. The NHTSA also dates back to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 and the Highway Safety Act of 1966. It also has ties to the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act of 1971. The NHTSA’s mission statement on their website states that their main focus is “to save lives, prevent injuries and reduce traffic-related health care and other economic costs.”

The NHTSA operates under three main areas; research, information and education, and funding other research. The NHTSA is responsible for writing and enforcing safety, theft-resistance, and fuel economy standards for motor vehicles. It is also responsible for licensing vehicle manufacturers and importers, allows or blocks the import of vehicles and safety regulated vehicle parts, administers the VIN system, develops the dummies used in crash test safety as well as the standards for those tests, and provides vehicle insurance cost information.

Since the inception of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration highways deaths in the United States have declined almost annually. Since the year 1960, the number of deaths per miles travelled has declined incredibly. The current number of deaths per year on United States roads hovers around 40,000. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also expanded to include consumer information programs as well. One of the main reasons for the creation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was due to public pressure in the United States to create safer automobiles. One of the provisions by Congress made it a law to install safety belts in all newly manufactured vehicles. The meetings held by Congress occurred in 1966 and those same meetings produced the creation of the United States Department of Transportation.

Prior to the creation of the NHTSA, all vehicles being imported to the United States had to meet standards that were set by the ECE. The ECE is short for the Economic Commission for Europe. They are called the ECE Regulations for vehicle design, construction, and safety performance. Once the United States government created and placed into effect the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety standards, any vehicles meeting the ECE safety standards but not the United States standards were no longer permitted to be imported into the country for sale.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is also responsible and is legally allowed to perform safety investigations of any safety problems with vehicles imported into the country as well as vehicles that are manufactured within the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also works in conjunction with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to provide American drivers with the most safety information about their vehicles and the roadways as possible. The NHTSA is working on a proposal to mandate that all vehicles by the model year 2012 have Electronic Stability Control equipped on them.
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Article Added on Thursday, October 8, 2009
Other Articles by Brenda Williams

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