What is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is often cited in news reports regarding auto defects and other safety problems relating to motor vehicles. Many of these safety issues affect those living in Nashville, so it is likely that the residents of the city would like to learn more about this federal agency and the methods by which it protects consumers. 

The NHTSA was established in 1970 with the passage of the Highway Safety Act. The federal agency is housed under the United States Department of Transportation and is charged with implementing safety and consumer programs. These programs are carried out under three federal laws: the Highway Safety Act, the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act.  

In practice, the NHTSA’s responsibilities include creating and enforcing motor vehicle safety standards, providing grants for highway safety programs, establishing fuel economy standards, conducting research on driver and traffic safety, and reviewing complaints of odometer fraud. 

The NHTSA is also heavily involved in auto defect issues. The agency is responsible for investigating consumer complaints regarding motor vehicle defects as well as providing recall information to the public. Those who would like to issue a complaint or receive recall information may reach the NHTSA via its website or its Vehicle Safety Hotline.

In some cases, investigations by the NHTSA can uncover defective auto products that have led to consumer injuries. Those who have been hurt through the use of such products may be able to receive financial compensation for the injuries, emotional trauma and property damage they sustained.

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