Motor Vehicle Safety Laws and Public Health

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Motor Vehicle Safety Laws and Public Health
Tiffany N. McClintock
HCA 415 Community & Public Health
Instructor: Sara Matusak
April 1, 2013

Federal Laws
“The U.S. Congress responded with the National Highway Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Highway Safety Act of 1966, creating a new federal program to address motor vehicle safety” (Waller, para. 5). This act allows the federal government to implement laws regarding motor vehicle safety. This act created the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). William Haddon, public health physician, was the first director of the NHTSA. He was the first to set safety standard for motor vehicles and the first to administer programs for driver’s licensing, impaired driving from alcohol, motorcycle safety and etc. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are applied to new motor vehicle. “Legislation enacted in 1966 requires the federal government to establish safety standards for new motor vehicles sold in the United States, whether of domestic or foreign manufacture” (Waller, para. 16). These standards have prevented people from getting seriously injured during a motor vehicle accident. “FMVSS, including softer instrument panels, head restraints, energy absorbing steering columns, and high penetration-resistant windshields, have saved thousands of lives and prevented tens of thousands of injuries” (Waller, para. 17). FMVSS also requires safety belts and child safety seats meet certain safety standards. State Laws

Every state is required by law to follow the federal government’s standards. Most states have additional safety standards and programs regarding motor vehicle safety. The state of Maryland follows federal motor vehicle safety standards, as well as, their own safety standards. As of last year, Maryland set a new standard of no texting and talking on cell phones while driving, even at red lights. “Texting and talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal in...
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