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Motor Vehicle Safety Laws and Public Health Essay

“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 Maryland; it is not safe for anyone and it can be especially dangerous for teens” (Young, para. 1). Texting and talking on cell phones while driving can become a huge distraction for drivers and has caused a lot of accidents.

Maryland also has standards for unattended children in a motor vehicle. Every child that is unattended in a motor vehicle, especially during extreme hot and cold conditions, can get seriously injured which is why it is illegal. Legislative Laws These laws, federal and state, fall under legislative laws. Legislative laws are first called bills that are enacted by Congress, General Assembly and the President. For federal laws, the bill has to be passed through the U. S Congress and then signed by the President.

Fore state laws, the bill has to be passed through the General Assembly and then signed by the State’s Governor. The U. S Congress can veto the President’s decision if the majority of Congress agrees. The same thing goes to the General Assembly. If the General Assembly disagrees with the Governor’s decision then the majority of the General Assembly can veto his decisions. For Motor Vehicle Safety, each state has to follow federal laws but they can pass their own laws to prevent motor vehicle injuries. State laws cannot contradict with federal laws.

Most motor vehicle accidents occur from impairment driving from alcohol, recklessness and inexperienced. Public health is preventing people from injuries and diseases. With the help of these laws, there will be fewer motor vehicle accidents which will cause fewer injuries and deaths. “The reduction of the rate of death attributable to motor-vehicle crashes in the United States represents the successful public health response to a great technologic advance of the 20th century” (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, para. 1).

Every standard that is regulated is there to prevent motor vehicle accidents from occurring. “In 1966, passage of the Highway Safety Act and the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act authorized the federal government to set and regulate standards for motor vehicles and highways, a mechanism necessary for effective prevention” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, para. 3). Every new vehicle is designed to protect people from serious injuries when involved in an accident.

Relating to Public Health Every year, the amount of motor vehicle deaths has decreased. Reductions in motor vehicle injury and death represent a major public health success” (Waller, para. 1). Motor vehicle accidents are still one of the largest causes of deaths in the United States. “Traffic crashes are identified as the ninth leading cause of death worldwide, and it is estimated that by the year 2020 traffic crashes will be the third largest cause of death and disability in the world” (Waller, para. 3). With setting more safety standards, motor vehicle accidents can decrease if everyone follows these standards.

Preventing injuries from motor vehicle accidents will save many lives. “The record of motor vehicle injury prevention nevertheless represents a major success in public health in the United States” (Waller, para. 4). The estimation of motor vehicle accidents being the third cause of death and disability by 2020 can change by then if more safety standards and programs are issued. Federal and State Government It can take a lot to prevent motor vehicle accidents but if all standards are regulated then fewer motor vehicle accidents will happen.

State and local governments have enacted and enforced laws that affect motor-vehicle and highway safety, driver licensing and testing, vehicle inspections, and traffic regulations” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, para. 5). The federal and state government should continue to play a role in preventing motor vehicle accidents. If the federal and state government does not play a role in motor vehicle safety then there will be more injuries from accidents. The only reason why there has been a reduction in motor vehicle accidents is because of the standards regulated by federal and state governments.

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