The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently created a timeline of safety advancements from 1878 to today.  From the first seat belt patent in 1885, to seeing an all-time high seat belt use rate in 2015, we’ve come a long way. The NHTSA’s timeline gives readers a unique look into both the past and the future. Improving safety isn’t just about technological advances. It’s also about cracking down on manufacturers who endanger motorists. Although we’ve seen some record-setting recalls and civil penalties over the past few years, there is still so much work to do.

The Early Years of Motor Vehicle Safety

In 1901, the first ever-statewide traffic laws were created in Connecticut. Motor vehicles were initially limited to 12 miles per hour in cities and 15 miles per hour on country roads. In 1910, New York introduced the first drunk driving laws. We saw the first three-way traffic lights in 1930, and seat belts weren’t offered in American made cars until 1950. The first airbags came the following year. In 1953, as the result of the increased number of motorcycle fatalities, University of Southern California (USC) Professor C.F. “Red” Lombard developed motorcycle helmets designed to absorb the shock of impact.

The U.S. DOT Hits The Scene

It wasn’t until 1966 that the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) was born. Their mission, to “Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality life of the American people, today and into the future” later gave birth to the NHTSA is 1970, which was established under the Highway Safety Act. In the mid 80s to early 90s, the NHTSA ran national public safety campaigns and instituted safety measures like the 5-Star vehicle ratings to improve motor vehicle safety on U.S. roadways.

Looking Into the Future

Although, we’ve seen a disturbingly high number of recalls over the past few years, the NHTSA is continuing their efforts at improving roadway safety across the nation. If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one in a car accident involving a dangerous or distracted driver in San Diego, along the Central Coast or in any of the surrounding communities, contact the experienced team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. at 1.800.GO.HARRIS for a free case consultation.



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