What Is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is an essential part of driving and automobiles. What does this organization do, and why is it important? If car safety is important to you, you can thank the NHTSA for helping.

What does the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration do?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) helps keep vehicles safe on the roads | David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The NHTSA defines the company’s mission statement as to “Save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards, and enforcement activity.”

Started in 1970, the company set forth to reduce deaths and injuries on the road from automobile accidents. In 1978, the NHTSA started testing and rating vehicles using test dummies for frontal-impact crashes.

The NHTSA formed the five-star safety rating system to help consumers make more informed decisions when buying a car was created in 1993. Three years later, the company started testing vehicles for other kinds of crashes. This included side impacts.

As time progressed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started doing more comprehensive crash testing. Rollover crashes proved to be a dangerous factor for drivers, which impacted the decision to add rollover crash tests.

In 2004, SaferCar.gov was launched so consumers could access the crash-test data online as the world wide web grew. In 2010, NHTSA established the overall vehicle safety score to continue ensuring cars were safe on the roads.

The NHSTA continues to grow and evolve along with technology to make driving safer for drivers and passengers.

NHTSA safety issues and recalls

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If you have ever looked at an in-depth car review from a website like U.S. News or Consumer Reports, the companies often cite the NHTSA. For example, the 2018 Honda CR-V gave the CR-V a five out of five for safety.

These ratings are important to help determine if a car is safe enough for your family. The NHTSA uses a few criteria to do so. The first is the front crash test scenario that represents crashes between two similar vehicles.

The side barrier crash test scenario represents a crash that would hit your car on the driver’s side. A side pole crash test scenario is a similar test that includes a car sliding into a pole at high speed.

There is also a rollover test simulating a crash at 55 miles per hour. The NHTSA will likely be adapting to different driving standards as driving changes and electric vehicles become more automated.

What are the safest cars of 2021?

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chose some vehicles from the 2021 lineup that NHTSA gave a five-star safety rating. This list consisted of the 2021 Acura TLX, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac XT6, and 2021 Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport.

Additionally, some of the 2021 vehicles are equipped with advanced crash avoidance technology. These automobiles make driving safer for those in the car and others on the road. Some of the cars include the Buick Envision, Cadillac CT5, Chevrolet Tahoe, and Chevrolet Trailblazer.

This is just a short snippet of the cars, SUVs, and trucks included on the list of safe vehicles. While the NHTSA continues to grow, the roads will hopefully continue to become safer.