NHTSA’s Roof Crush Proposal Is Not Sufficient Say Safety Groups

Nov. 2005 – Safety groups argue that the proposed regulation to require stronger vehicle roofs is inadequate for protecting motorists in rollover accidents. The new proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA in August, 2005 would require roofs to withstand direct pressure of 2.5 times the vehicle weight, a significant increase from the current rule of 1.5 times the weight. Rollover crashes kill on the average of 10,000 people each year. The automakers say that the government has underestimated the number of design changes that would be needed to upgrade their fleets and urged regulators to give them more time to comply with this proposal.

Safety groups estimate that about 70 percent of vehicles currently comply with the standard and said the rule was developed arbitrarily, with too much focus on how much it would cost the auto industry instead of designing a regulation to save more lives. “The agency should go back to the drawing board and develop a far more stringent and effective test,” said Joan Claybrook, president of watchdog group Public Citizen. She called the proposal “grossly inadequate” and is nothing but “junk science”. NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson said the proposal had been in development since 2001 and involved the “best minds in government” who thoroughly examined an upgrade to the rule, which has been in place since the 1970s. “It’s not junk science. It’s very well-reasoned science,” Tyson said. Under the proposal, vehicles would likely need to come into compliance by September 2009.

Bob Lange, General Motors Corp.’s top safety official, wrote that the changes “are quite significant and will consume large amounts of engineering, manufacturing, and capital resources that are not now comprehended in our product cycle plans. “The Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers, said the proposal would require more head room in the vehicles, could have the potential of unintended safety consequences, such as making vehicles more top heavy.

Rollover crashes account for more than one-third of traffic fatalities and killed more than 10,500 people last year. About 60 percent of those killed were not wearing seat belts. NHTSA estimates nearly 600 fatalities and more than 800 serious injuries a year involve people wearing seat belts who come into contact with a collapsed roof during a rollover crash. NHTSA has estimated the rule change will cost the industry $88 million to $95 million a year and save 13 to 44 lives per year. It could prevent 500 to 800 injuries a year, according to NHTSA.

Rollover – Roof Crush Legal Help

If you or a loved one has been involved in a rollover and the roof crushed or roof collapsed resulting in serious personal injuries or death, then call and obtain a free no obligation rollover lawsuit evaluation at 1-800-883-9858.