Distracted Driving: What’s the Government’s Role in Accident Prevention?
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Saturday’s show focused on the danger’s of “distracted driving”. We discussed such distractions as passenger’s, daydreaming, pet’s, small children, talking on cell phones, tv/movie watching, texting and most recently, manufacturer installed “infotainment” systems. Missing from the conversation and maybe one of the most important distractions, DUI, was not even discussed. That will certainly be a topic for an episode to come.
Not only did we examined local and state regulations that influence driver safety, we also discussed NHTSA’s regulations that influence automotive design and build. NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is an agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. government, part of the Department of Transportation and their main focus is described as “Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes.”
We also examined the IIHS’s role in reducing the motor vehicle crashes, injuries and property damage from crashes. IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) is a non-profit organization funded by auto insurance companies established in 1959. The IIHS works in conjuction with NHTSA to evaluate vehicle safety and provide research findings to automobile manufacturer’s for improved vehicle safety.
Caller’s expressed concern about government intervention in the “free market”, as well as, individual responibility in governing ourselves. The prevailing tone of the show seemed to lean toward limited government intervention and more personal oversight.
After considering caller comments and my own research, I’m of the opinion that the vast majority of the regulations imposed by the federal government are beneficial to the safety of all who travel on U.S. highways and public streets. Before NHTSA, auto manufacturers were not required to install brake lights or seatbelts. Imagine how many accidents and injuries that have been prevented from just those two minor additions since the invent of the automobile. Also, the IIHS acts as a litmus test for NHTSA’s recommendations, which should satisfy objections to “big” government and satisfy the role of the “free market”.
Be sure to tune in to WAOK 1380 or www.waok.com, Saturday, May 4 from 10am to 12 noon, when we discuss dealers making minorities feel welcome.