Usually referred to as motorcars, automobiles are one of the most common means of transportation. They are used for commercial purposes, as well as for pleasure. They are also a popular target for theft. A car is a highly complex technical system, composed of thousands of component parts. Several safety regulations have been put in place to help reduce the number of injuries caused by these vehicles. But, experts say, these regulations are not sufficient to eliminate all auto accidents.
Modern automobiles have evolved from the invention of the internal combustion engine, as well as from new technology. Automobiles are also important in the United States, because they help to provide economic development. In fact, the demand for autos in the United States rose as a result of the increase in per capita income.
The first production motorcycle in the United States was built by Charles Metz in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1898. He used a horizontal single-cylinder gasoline engine, and the rear wheel was drive-chained to a rear wheel. The machine was designed for off-road use, so it could endure severe overloads and other extreme operating conditions.
The first three-wheeled commercial vehicle was created in the late nineteenth century by Edward Butler. The Stout Scarab was a precursor to the minivan. The vehicle was designed to carry a large number of passengers. The design features a streamlined beetle-like shape. The vehicle was able to lean to the lowest centre of gravity, making it an excellent cornering vehicle.
In the twentieth century, automobile manufacturers began to apply more strict standards for their cars. These standards were designed to improve safety and to reduce emissions. However, the auto industry lobbied against these regulations, believing that most injuries were the result of driver error.
The most effective way to prevent auto injuries is to require automakers to create safer vehicles. According to statistics, 13 percent of automobile accidents involve mechanical failure, which is caused by poor maintenance. The use of air bags in motor vehicles can reduce the chances of fatalities by 32 percent.
The use of seat belts is another good safety measure. These devices attach across the lap and the shoulder to reduce the chance of injury. Some models include antilock brakes. A small number of two-wheeled cars have these devices, but not every model does.
Motorcycles are not classified as automobiles unless they are designed to be car-like. This definition can be a gray area. There are many people who consider motorcycles to be automobiles, though. In this case, the tires are smaller and the wheels are made from aluminum or cast steel.
The United States and Europe have imposed stricter regulations on carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and other emissions. The emissions from new motorcycles in the United States in 2006 were 1.4 grams of hydrocarbons and nitric oxides per kilometer. In 2010, these emissions were reduced to 0.8 grams. The European Union has imposed a further reduction of 0.1 grams of hydrocarbons by 2020.