Many people are surprised to learn that there is an entire government agency devoted to making the roads safer for public travel. That organization is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, for short. The organization exists to study traffic behaviors and make recommendations that affect laws and policies in ways that make it safer to drive on the roads.
The results of NHTSA’s work, and the work of other advocacy groups, are government policies that help prevent car accidents, and policies that help people survive if they are in an accident. These policies are designed to ease the flow of traffic in a way that ultimately cuts costs and saves lives. Some of these policies are Texas’ seat belt laws, policies that restrict cell phone use by minors while driving, and laws that offer driver improvement courses to law violators in exchange for reduced penalties.
In Texas, seat belts are standard operating procedure. Because wearing a seat belt greatly reduces your chance of dying in the event of a crash, Texas has made safety belts required for all passengers. If you’re over fifteen years old and you’re not wearing an available safety belt, the police can issue you a citation. There are a few exceptions, for postal workers for example, as well as for those with a doctor’s approval to skip wearing the belt.
In addition to Texas seat belt laws, it’s policy in Texas that children eight years and younger use appropriate child or booster seats. The only exception is if the child is taller than four feet, nine inches. The size and style of the seat needed varies by the age of the child. A Texas car accident attorney knows, car seats are critical for children if the worst should happen and they are in a car accident.
Another Texas policy that helps reduce car accidents is a restriction on cell phone use by young drivers. Drivers must be at least eighteen years old before they use a cell phone while driving. This restriction prevents texting as well as talking while driving. New drivers are also prohibited from cell phone use until they’ve had a learner’s permit for a certain period. And school bus operators cannot operate the bus while using a cell phone. These restrictions help reduce accidents caused by inexperience and distraction, ultimately leading to fewer car crashes.
Because safety is the primary goal in Texas traffic control policy, Texas offers driver improvement courses for offenders. This is another way that government policy helps prevent car accidents. The goal is to help offenders improve their driving skills rather than simply slap them with a fine. Depending on the offense, a Texas judge has the option of placing an offender on probation. The judge can then order the driver to complete a state-approved driver improvement course.
These improvement courses help drivers reinforce defensive driving techniques. They can explain to drivers the importance of following speed limit and traffic control rules. They can provide a quick refresher on the meaning of various road signs. The goal is to help Texas drivers acquire the skill and motivation to be safe drivers.
The government develops these policies through traffic studies and legislation. Seat belts, restricted cell phone use and driver improvement courses all help drivers prevent car accidents. These government policies have public safety in mind.