A Historical Study of the Evolution and Effects of Federal Automotive Safety Legislation in the United States from 1900 to 2005

A Historical Study of the Evolution and Effects of Federal Automotive Safety Legislation in the United States from 1900 to 2005

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This qualitative historical study examined the evolution of effects of federal legislation on automotive safety in the United States from 1900 to 2005. The investigation examined legislation that affected automotive safety, how federal legislation that regulated automotive safety standards influenced automobile design, and the effects of federal legislation that imposed mandated safety-related, defect reporting for automotive manufacturers. Annual highway fatalities were the measurable consequent effects of automotive safety legislation, which were analyzed from the historical data over time. The findings showed that in periods without legislation, the automotive industry made significant improvements that reduced the fatality rates (e.g., deaths per mile), but those improvements were not sufficient to decrease the annually rising fatalities. In 1968, the government finally took strong legislative action to enact safety requirements related to the design of motor vehicles, and shortly thereafter, the annual deaths commenced a downward trend that continued though 2005. The National Highway Transportation Authority (NHTSA) was formed in 1970 as a subdivision of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). This agency proved to have a very positive impact on the reduction of highway fatalities through its rulemaking activities, and took responsibility for generation of further Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that legislated passenger-vehicle design requirements. Political pressures delayed implementation of safety improvements such as passive restraints. Technology was available that could have saved lives if the regulatory mandates had been enacted ten years earlier. Later legislation in 2000 covered reporting requirements for the entire automotive industry in the form of the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation (TREAD) Act that was enacted in response to rising levels of fatalities involving roll over accidents in Ford Explorers. It was concluded that government intervention in legislation directed towards prevention of fatalities was very effective. If it had been made ten years earlier when the technological advancements in automotive design were available, then up to 786, 557 additional lives could have been saved from the period 1962-2005.This qualitative historical study examined the evolution of effects of federal legislation on automotive safety in the United States from 1900 to 2005.


Title:A Historical Study of the Evolution and Effects of Federal Automotive Safety Legislation in the United States from 1900 to 2005
Author: Roger F. Wells
Publisher:ProQuest - 2006
ISBN-13:

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