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Incoming NHTSA Chief Promises to Focus on Reducing Traffic Accident Deaths

The federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is poised to soon have its first confirmed chief in several years.  The good news is that the new head promises to take an extra special look at the increasing rates of traffic accident fatalities in the country.

The Biden administration has zeroed in on Steven Cliff to be the next head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Cliff has been serving as the deputy administrator for the NHTSA since February 2021.

Cliff is no stranger to auto safety, and is currently overseeing the federal administration’s investigation into auto accidents in Tesla automobiles. He is making it clear that the recently-approved infrastructure bill would boost the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s spending budget by 50%. According to Cliff, the funds will help the administration implement strategies to understand the causes of car accidents, and will enhance the quality of data as well expand the use of electronic reporting systems, moving them from paper-based to digital systems.

Cliff will take over at a crucial time for traffic safety in the United States. During the first 6 months of 2021, there was a 18.4% spike in traffic accident deaths on American roads, the highest on record since recording began in 1975. In the first three months alone of 2021, there was a 10.5% increase in traffic deaths compared to the year earlier despite fewer miles being driven on average by Americans.  As Cliff puts it, there is a culture in the United States that seems to accept that tens of thousands of people die every year in auto accidents as inevitable. None of these deaths are inevitable.  Most, in fact, are completely preventable through stronger laws and more stringent enforcement. Several more deaths can be reduced by placing pressure on auto makers and other stakeholders to prioritize safety above all else.

To auto safety advocates, it is extremely encouraging that the incoming National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief is prioritizing traffic safety.  More federal initiatives will go a long way in helping keeping Americans safer. Tens of thousands of preventable deaths in traffic accidents every year translate into several more thousands of lives that are permanently changed by the impact of the accident.  If Cliff is confirmed, this will help the NTHSA make progress on the backlog of proposed safety regulations that are much needed to help address the continuing rise in traffic accidents and deaths.

Life after being involved in a traffic accident can be traumatic. There are medical expenses to bear while the victim recuperates from his injuries. Victims may also lose income as a result of days missed from work during treatment. In the case of catastrophic injuries, car accident victims may also be looking at reduced earning capacity in the future if they are injured and unable to return to their previous job.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to an Atlanta car accident lawyer at the Katz Law Firm, and determine your legal options to a claim for damages. You may qualify for compensation that includes your medical expenses, lost income, and other forms of economic as well as non- economic damages.

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