Congress established the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1970 with the Highway Safety Act of 1970. It is the successor to the National Highway Safety Bureau.
The agency, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, was founded on December 31, 1970. Its mission ostensibly centers on transportation safety in the United States.
The agency was initially authorized to carry out safety programs under the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 and the Highway Safety Act of 1966.