Uniform Vehicle Code – Past, Present, and Future

The Uniform Vehicle Code is a grouping of traffic laws in the United States that seeks to ensure that traffic laws are similar state to state. Without this code, many people could experience confusion when visiting different states, as the laws for traffic would be different. Some states still have their own traffic laws, but there remains a large amount of uniformity on traffic laws across the United States, even though these laws are all issued by individual states.

Ways That Traffic Laws Are Similar State-To-State

Even though there are few national traffic laws, there remains great uniformity across states. For example, the traffic light system of red means stop, yellow means slow, and green means go, is implemented nationwide. All cars drive on the right hand side of the road in the United States. Contrast that with the British, who drive on the left. There is an organization responsible for keeping the standards across state lines. Let's explore that organization now.

National Committee on Uniform Traffic Laws and Ordinances

Commonly known as the NCUTLO, this organization is a private nonprofit organization whose purpose is to ensure uniformity of the traffic laws across all 50 U.S. states. The organization is located in Alexandria, Virginia. According to the organization, maintaining uniformity of traffic laws will be extremely important in the 21st century, as technology in cars change the way human beings interact with each other on the road. The organization helps prepare legislation in government to ensure that uniform standards are met.

Uniform Vehicle Code History

The federal government of the United States had attempted to create a uniform code for many years, without success. That all changed when a committee under the supervision of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover created the first national vehicle code in the year 1926. Hoover would later become the President of the United States. As the laws have developed, the nation has maintained a uniform vehicle code. Parking is a frequently discussed topic when looking at how to maintain uniformity of codes nationwide. The document was revised in 1968 as the Uniform Vehicle Code and Model Traffic Ordinance, which was prepared by NCUTLO and considered legally binding by the Executive Director of the Office of the Federal Register.

As automobiles change, including with car-to-road and car-to-car communication in development for many years, it is likely that this code will change in order to remain relevant as cars begin to operate in different ways than they have in the past. Individuals will have to keep up with their motor vehicle record as laws change. Recent news of Google building a self-driving car points to the direction that NCUTLO may have to move towards to continue building a code that meets the demands of automobiles in the next hundred years. That being said, the majority of the code will likely remain relevant for many decades.

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