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What is the NHTSA?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Role Following a Rollover Accident

As part of the Department of Transportation (DOT), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) attempts to save lives and prevent injuries by reducing the amount of car accidents that occur in the United States.

If you're reading this, then you have likely been injured or someone you love has been killed in a rollover accident. We want you to know what NHTSA does to prevent rollover accidents and why their investigators may be interested in your particular accident.

NHTSA's History

Over the course of the 1960s, Americans were becoming increasingly more concerned with car accidents and automobile safety, culminating with the publication of the National Academy of the Sciences' "Accidental Death - The Neglected Disease of Modern Society," and Unsafe at Any Speed by consumer activist Ralph Nader - both of which outlined the dangers of driving without adequate safety precautions. In response to the public outcry for safer driving conditions, Congress took action in 1966, making seat belts mandatory in all cars and passing a series of legislative bills that created the precursor of NHTSA, the National Highway Safety Bureau. In 1970, Congress then passed the National Highway Safety Act that replaced the NHSB with the NHTSA.

NHTSA's Functions

The NHTSA performs many different duties designed to improve highway safety, including:

  • Writing and enforcing safety rules and laws,
  • Determining fuel economy standards with the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) system,
  • Creating and maintaining crash statistics in conjunction with the National Center for Statistics and Analysis,
  • Promoting theft-resistance measures,
  • Administering the vehicle identification number (VIN) system,
  • Licensing vehicle manufacturers and importers,
  • Controlling the importation of vehicles and parts, and
  • Developing the crash-test dummies and protocols designed to test the safety of cars.

While all of NHTSA's duties are important in the United States, its statistical compilation and analysis have been used around the globe in order to make automobile and truck travel safer - particularly the work of the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Furthermore, the NHTSA's push to educate the public about the dangers of drinking and driving have been credited with contributing to the decline in drunken driving accidents over the past decade.

What the NHTSA Does about Rollover Accidents

As with all traffic accidents, the NHTSA tracks statistics of incident rates, injuries, and fatalities in rollover accidents. According to NHTSA stats, there were 227,000 rollover accidents in the United States from 1992 through 1996, with over 9,000 people dying per year in these wrecks. Since rollover accidents are statistically among the most fatal types of car wrecks, NHTSA doesn't stop at gathering information about rollovers but proactively tries to stop these accidents before they happen.

For example, NHTSA has developed a system for testing the likelihood that a new vehicle will roll over - the Vehicle Dynamic Rollover Propensity test. Not only was this system developed to warn consumers of the rollover danger inherent in a vehicle, but it has also prompted the creation of a minimum standard for a vehicle's rollover propensity and helped inspire automakers to make cars more rollover resistant in order to avoid a low rating.

In addition, the NHTSA does its best to educate the public about the dangers of rollover accidents, most recently publicizing its statistical finding that drivers and passengers who are wearing their seat belts are 75 percent more likely to survive a rollover accident. Furthermore, the NHTSA also tests vehicles to make sure they're capable of structurally withstanding a rollover once it's happened.

Does the NHTSA Help you After a Rollover Accident?

After you've been injured in a rollover wreck in Texas, NHTSA will do very little to assist you in pursuing compensation. In fact, it's the other way around - you will be assisting the NHTSA with its statistical analysis. If the NHTSA shows any interest in your accident, it will merely be to record the information about the accident and continue building its database in an effort to devise ways of reducing rollovers in the future.

If you've been injured in a rollover accident, you're going to need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney in Texas who has investigated and tried rollover accident cases. At Grossman Law Offices, our attorneys have been litigating auto accident cases for more than two decades, and we've helped resolve many personal injury and wrongful death cases involving rollovers. If you'd like to learn more about rollover accidents and your chances of successfully seeking compensation, then call us now for a free consultation at (855) 326-0000 (toll free).

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